Duck Soup (1933)

(On VHS, September 2000) In humor, there’s a tendency to assume that everything relevant was invented recently, but this Marx Brothers film shows that most comedy tactics were used well before our birth. Duck Soup isn’t a film to see for a strong plot (there isn’t one beyond stringing together a few vignettes), original characters (the Marx brothers basically play their specialties; Groucho with his verbal deftness, Guido with his pantomime and Chico somewhere in between) or cinematic qualities (though there are a few surprisingly modern sequences). But is it funny? Definitely. Enough to track down the film and see it as a group. You’ll be quoting from it for days after.

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