Duck Soup / Groucho MarxAFI Rank: #85
Year Released: 1933
Director: Leo Mccarey
Actors: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx
The term "duck soup" means something that is incredibly easy. In Duck Soup, Groucho Marx takes comedy which seems to be easy, but is actually quite talented in its slapstick and its double meanings.
This came out in 1933, during the depression, and people were looking for something to shake them out of their funk. Duck Soup certainly did the trick. It's a political satire that talks about how men woo women for their money, how countries switch sides as it becomes convenient, how people are overlooked because of the way they look or act.
There are a lot of fun gags in here, from the famous mirror scene to the confused-perceptions as everyone dresses up to look like Groucho. By the end of the movie they are going full wild with every military costume known to mankind and over the top gags. Through all of it is the reminder that war isn't exactly sane and that people can get riled up if the "conductor" knows how to play them right.
Certainly the movie is meant to be light. People who are looking for serious dialogue about the nature of competing political systems won't find it here. Little kids under the age of 10 will hoot in delight as the "mirror images" dance with each other.
Still, sometimes that's how comedy can shine. It can draw all ages in with its light message, and get them to absorb the underlying conversation while they're there.
Male vs Female Actors
There are only two females in the movie, really, and both roles are fairly light. They are there for the men to play against.
The Bechdel Test
The two females do talk briefly, but it's really just introductions.
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AFI Top 100 Film Listing
Male vs Female Actors in the AFI Top 100
The Bechdel Test in the AFI Top 100