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    DVD Video - Reviews [Duck Soup]


    Duck Soup

    Release Date:

    Studio: Image
    Year: 1933
    Run Time: 68 minutes
    Rating: Not Rated
    Starring: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Zeppo Marx
    Directed by: Leo McCarey
      Movie Summary: [Comedy]

        The Marx Brothers are at their hilarious best in this insanely satirical comedic romp. Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo set international relations on its ear--and the audience in stitches--with their rapid-fire wit and hijinks. Not to be missed, "Duck Soup" is one of the Marx Brothers' most popular films.

    DVD Details
    • Full Frame, B&W, Mono, Closed Captioned, Region 1
    See Full Disc Details...

    Reviewer: Augie De Blieck, Jr.


            T he movie may be nearly 70 years old now, but itís still hilarious. Duck Soup is the Marx Brothers at their finest, mixing sight gags and puns at an alarming rate. In a movie that only lasts a few minutes longer than an hour, they packed in an amazing amount of comedy. Once they get going, they don't stop long enough for you to catch your breath.

    In this outing, Groucho plays Rufus T. Firefly, newly appointed leader of fictional country Freedonia. Harpo and Chico are the hapless spies for the enemy, and Margaret Dumont takes her licks playing the financial backer of the country in love with Firefly. The movie contains a bunch of memorable and classic comedy bits. Remember the mirror gag, with two Grouchos aping each other without a mirror in between? Remember the bit with Chico and Harpo at the lemonade stand? If you donít, you owe it to yourself to see this movie.

    The movie moves along at a rather brisk pace. Unlike some of the other musical comedies that the Marx Brothers starred in, the song and dance numbers donít get in the way at all. All of the ones included here are mildly choreographed and used strictly for comedic value. This movie is pure comedic madness with some loose plot bits thrown in for good measure.

    This DVD looks pretty good, but it's not too far above and beyond the VHS transfer. This does bring up an important issue. Why havenít the Marx Brothers movies been put out on DVD en masse? And why hasnít there been any further restoration efforts or special editions for them? These movies are all classics. In a day and age where all the Marilyn Monroe films are showing up in boxed sets, alongside the works of Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin, et. al., it makes me wonder why these classics canít have the attention lavished on them that they deserve. Iíd love to see a full set of Marx Brothers movies. Right now, this title aside, the only that have been published are Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, and Horse Feathers. These three are available as a boxed set. But whereís A Night At The Opera? Whereís Monkey Business? Whereís A Day At The Races? Why canít we get some scholarly commentary tracks on the movies? There are dozens of books written about the Marx Brothers and their adventures through life and in filmmaking. Certainly, thereís material to be mined for these DVDs along the lines of whatís been done for the Hitchcock movies.

    In the meantime, the picture on this disc is about as good as youíre going to get without a restoration. The occasional scratches are still there on the frame. But the rest of the picture is just fine. Sound wise, the film is available only in mono sound, which is how the movie was originally done, obviously. Youíll have to turn the volume up a little to hear everything, but thatís due strictly to the process of recording sound at the time, and not any defect in the DVD transfer.

    The only menu on the DVD is the scene selection. Truly, this is the best part of the DVD. When the mood strikes, you can just skip straight to the routine you feel like watching. Just put the disc into your player and go straight to the lemonade stand, or right to the first meeting between Chico, Harpo, and Louis Calhern as their boss, Trentino, the evil ruler of Sylvania. (And I suggest you do. Chico is at his dizzying best in that scene, explaining how he tracked his prey and adding baseball into the mix.)

    I found this disc on sale for $9.99. For that price, thereís no question that the disc is worth picking up. If you can only find a copy for $20 or more, you might want to ask yourself how big a fan of the Marx Brothers you are. Since the disc is currently out of print, you might have to do a little digging to find it.

    Basically, if youíre a Marx Brothers fan, this disc is a must for now. If youíre not, this movie is the gang in its prime. If you donít like this one, odds are pretty good you wonít like any of them. The picture and sound quality arenít much better than VHS, so youíre buying this disc for the ease of skipping around to your favorite bits at your leisure.


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    Ratings Based on Scale of 1 - 10 (10 being Best)

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