Thoughts on the ocean, the environment, the universe and everything from nearly a mile high.

Panorama of The Grand Tetons From the top of Table Mountain, Wyoming © Alan Holyoak, 2011

Friday, February 10, 2012

Great news!!!! Duck Soup - the best comedy of all time is now out on DVD!

Duck Soup is, I believe, the best comedy movie of all time.  Of course every movie-watching person on the planet already agrees with me on this, but the BIG NEWS is that this movie was, thank the Maker, recently released as a stand alone DVD offering as part of Universal Studio's 100th Anniversary Celebration!.

It makes me want to say, "Hey nonnie, nonnie, and a hot-cha-cha!" (Watch the film and you'll "get it!")  :-D

Duck Soup was directed by Leo McCarey and starred the four Marx Brothers - Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo.  It was released in 1933, during the middle of the Great Depression, and I have to imagine that this film did a lot to lift people's spirits.  

I can't remember the first time I saw this movie, but I believe it was during those heady early years of cable TV, and the launching of stations like TBS, TNT, TNN, and so on.  I LOVED those days.  They rolled out classic black and white winner after classic black and white winner...including this jewel of jewels!

The Marx Brothers, in my opinion, hit their full stride in Duck Soup.  Groucho, as always, played the lead.  

Just in case you have either been living under a rock or were born within the past two decades, Duck Soup has a memorable story line...well, sort of.  Anyway, the Marx Brothers' antics, and the endless stream of one-liners and sight gags make this film a real winner.

OK, the setup for the movie is that the small country of Freedonia is suffering major financial difficulties.  The leadership has turned to Mrs. Teasdale, a patriotic, wealthy widow who has come to her country's aid in the past, but this time she refuses to provide any more money unless the government agrees to install Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) as their new leader.

What really makes the interplay between Firefly and Mrs. Teasdale (played by Margaret Dumont) is that Mrs. Teasdale was the butt of many of Firefly's barbed one-liners, and Hollywood tradition holds that she for the most part did not catch or acknowledge his jokes, and played her scenes straight.    

For example, the photo above is from the scene that includes the following exchanges...

Mrs. Teasdale: As chairman of the reception committee, I welcome you with open arms.
Firefly: Is that so?  How late do you stay open?


Firefly: Not that I care, but where is your husband?
Mrs. Teasdale: Why, he's dead.
Firefly: I'll bet he's just using that as an excuse.
Mrs. Teasdale: I was with him to the very end.
Firefly: Hmph, No wonder he passed away.
Mrs. Teasdale: I help him in my arms and kissed him.
Firefly: Oh, I see.  Then it was murder.

...and it doesn't stop there!

Just imagine the actress playing Mrs. Teasdale not catching or getting these one-liners!  Hilarious!

Later in the movie there is a CLASSIC segment where Harpo and Chico as spies for Freedonia's sworn enemy Sylvania,  and Firefly all end up in Mrs. Teasdale's home.  I was floored when they all donned identical white night shirts and caps, and dabbed on Groucho-like mustaches (and even his is painted on, by they way!  Ha!).  They ARE brothers!  There is sight gag after sight gag during this part of the movie, and for  me perhaps the funniest is when Groucho and Harpo run into each other on opposite sides of where a mirror used to be.  You have to watch it to experience it, but I laugh out loud just about every time!

I also love the scene with the peanut stand, the fire, the hat, and the lemonade vendor, among many, many more!  I won't give away more of the movie, but you really owe it to yourself to watch this classic comedy!  

And just to wrap things up, just when you think you've had enough and that there's nothing else that they couldn't do any more, then comes "the last straw"!  

This movie has it all!  One-liners, patriotism, spies, betrayal, sight-gags, romance, singing, intrigue, dancing, war, and more!  

If you keep your eyes and ears open you will amazed at the number of jokes and gags that you have seen mimicked from Duck Soup.   

In my opinion, you can't claim legitimately to be a fan of the movies unless you have seen "Duck Soup" preferably several times!  So do yourself a favor and give it a look!

"Hail! Hail! Freedonia!"

Oh, one last older brother lives in Fredonia, KS, and sometimes when I call him up I just sing him the national anthem of Freedonia when he gets on the line!  Ha ha. It's a multi-purpose movie.

(Originally posted 1-13-2012)

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