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Duck Soup (1933)
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Genre:Comedy
Year:1933
Rating:NR
Cast:Leo McCarey, Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx

Hail, hail anarchy! The Marx Brothers are at their most freewheeling in this sly political satire, and nothing that's stuffy, dignified, formal, or part of the establishment emerges unscathed. The comic mayhem of DUCK SOUP, widely regarded as the brothers' best film, centers around the conflict between the imaginary states of Freedonia -- which bears a sneaking similarity to the United States -- and Sylvania. War looms between the two, but with a Freedonian leader like Groucho's Rufus T. Firefly, the only casualties are the victims of his rapier wit. Among them are the always-wonderful Margaret Dumont (a Marx Brothers regular) as a wealthy widow who's the special butt of Firefly's barbs; the scheming Sylvanian leader, whose humorlessness makes him ripe for a fall; and a cheesy seductress who can't fool Rufus for a minute. The funniest moment: the much-imitated vaudevillesque "mirror scene" in which Chico precisely mimics Groucho's motions to a tee. From the film's opening spoof of diplomatic protocol to the its fruit-throwing final battle, the laughter doesn't stop for a instant. Karen Backstein

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