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Miss Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) offers the country 20 million
dollars, but only if they appoint Rufus T.Firefly their new president,
which is good news since Freedonia would need the money, but bad news
since Firefly is Groucho Marx (his motto "If you think the
country's bad off now, just wait till I get through with it").
Meanwhile, ambassador Trentino (Louis Calhern) of the neighbouring
Sylvania wants to get his hands on both Teasdale's fortune & the
rule ofer Freedonia, sees his evil schemes seriously spoiled by Firefly,
who has long conquered Miss Teasdale's heart (for whatever reason). So
he schemes some more & plants 2 spies (Chico & Harpo Marx) in
Firefly's employ (Chico actually becomes minister of war) as well as
trying to heve Firefly seduced by dancer Vera Marqual (Raquel Torres).
But Firefly of course goes one step further, picking a fight with
Trentino until that man calls him an upstart, an insult which no Firefly
can accept, thus declaring war on Sylvania. That same night, Chico &
Harpo try to steal the plans of war which are hidden at Miss Teasdale's
place, but instead turn this place into chaos (this sequence features
the famous mirror scene, in which Harpo, dressed as Groucho, tries to
convince Groucho he's his mirror image - to hilarious results). As a
result of this, Chico is arrested & court-martrialed, until Groucho
- rather unexpectredly I would think - takes up his defense ... But the
war breaks out. But chaos prevails at the battlefield, too, so even
though the battle is lost the war is won, ending in a big foodfight,
with first Trentino, then Miss Teasdale (!) at the recieving end.
was both Zeppo's last film with his brothers (although in a very minor
supporting role) as well as the Marx Brothers' last film for Paramount
before a very successful but artistically disappointing stay at MGM. Duck
Soup however is not only considered their best film but one
of the greatest comedies ever - & I happen to agree with
that. This movie proves to be the ultimate blend of out-of-bounds comedy
(consisting of both slapstick and spitfire sophisticated dialogue to the
hilt), silly musical numbers, even fight scenes and utter stupidity,
that still hasn't been surpassed to this day !
To go along with the
martial topic of the movie, a titlecard - even before the Paramount logo
- says NRA presents.