Duck Soup

Duck Soup is a Marx Brothers film from 1933. I guess I don't really understand the Marx Brothers. I don't really like comedy with puns, and physical comedy makes me sort of tired. I don't really like The Three Stooges either, there's just something about this sort of style that makes me exhausted. I think it's just personal taste that this fell sort of flat for me. I mean, it sort of grew on me, and I found a few moments funny, but otherwise I was sort of "meh". I'm sure this is movie blasphemy, but I wasn't in love, or even really in like with this film.

I understand that writing puns takes a lot of creativity and effort, but something about the way Groucho Marx talks in circles that made me sigh. There was a scene where one of the brothers is trying to open a safe, but turns on a radio instead. Music starts playing loudly, and Teasdale asks what all the noise is. "Sounds like mice," Firefly answers. "Mice don't play music!" she says. I started to laugh, and then - " No? How about the old maestro?" Uggggh. Obviously this works for some people. I'm just one of those people who rolls my eyes when I hear things like this, I can't help it. I appreciate the effort and wit it takes to write this, but I just don't feel it.

I did like the bits with Chicolini, where he constantly mishears things, like confusing "irrelevant" with "elephant" and "Dollars" with "Dallas", because of his accent. Something about that character made me less exasperated than with a lot of the other bits. I'm pretty simple and I think goofy accents are funny, so this pleased me, I guess. The infamous mirror scene was quite funny as well, mostly for the payoff at the end, and how it become difficult to tell who the real Firefly actually is.

Maybe I'm too....empathetic for comedy like this? Why were Chicolini and Pinky so mean to that lemonade guy? I felt bad for him. They were always burning his hats and smashing his peanuts to the ground, and driving away his customers. Why was Firefly so mean to Teasdale? During the battle, Firefly announces in front of Teasdale, "Remember, you're fighting for this woman's honour, which is probably more than she ever did." I just sort of frowned. I felt bad for her. I don't know, it just wasn't funny to me, like "Haha, we're smashing up this guys stuff! We're insulting some lady!" I guess I don't get it, but I'm really weird about comedy, so I know it's just me.

Anyway, I think that is all I can say about this. It just fell sort of flat to me. I haven't really seen any Marx Brothers movies, though, before this one. I would assume they are characters that grow on you. You get familiar with their antics and mannerisms and sort of expect what is coming when they get into different situations. So maybe going into this blind, I didn't really "get" the characters.

I guess if you like comedy like this, it's worth it, but I'm pretty apathetic about it, so I can't make any exciting recommendations. And plus, the Bears vs. Packers game is starting, which I don't understand, but it brings with it much tequila. And saus-ige. And Ditka. Bears. Saus-ige. Ditka.

Ebert's Great Movie Essay on Duck Soup

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