Thursday, April 29, 2010

DUCK SOUP (1933)

‘Change the name of your town, it’s hurting our picture,’ replied the Marx Brothers when residents of city Fredonia, NY complained about additional ‘e’ in the film.

Regarded as classic comedy by the team of the Marx Brothers; Duck Soup is an absolute madcap farce full of verbal, visual, physical gags as fresh as today as in 1933. It’s also a brilliant satire on autocratic leaders, fascist and authoritarian government. I’ve read that Mussolini was so disturbed by the film that he banned it in Italy; though it adds happiness to the Marx Brothers.

Though it’s just 1 hour 8 minutes long but it has moments of some everlasting entertainment. The zany and farcical plot paved the way to various sequences setting the stage for Groucho’s puns and double entendre. Director Leo McCarey gets the most out of brothers, giving them the full liberty to be their wackiest best. Much before they made their entry into cinema, the Marx Brothers- Groucho, Chico, Harpo & Zeppo honed their pantomime skills of physical comedies on stage for years. Watch their natural flair in ‘three hat changing scene’ or classic ‘mirror sequence’ which inspired many hindi films comic sequences like Dilip Kumar starrer ‘Kohinoor’ or Big B’s megaflop ‘Mard’.

Well it’s the only Marx Bros. film that I’ve seen till day and I enjoyed it too. But at the same time my choice of classic comedy do the favor to great Buster Keaton. For me he was more original in cinematic achievements of techniques and brilliant one man show on many fronts like great Chaplin but unlike him he still remain unknown to many comedy lovers. Too early to say but for me Keaton’s ‘The General’ and ‘Sherlock Jr.’ are great entertainers than ‘Duck Soup’.

Ratings- 8/10

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