Duck Soup

Leo McCarey | 1933 | ★★★★★
Featuring an abundance of brilliantly timed comic set pieces and memorable one-liners, this Marxist masterpiece – quite possibly the funniest film ever made – sees the four Marx brothers wreaking havoc on the fictional tinpot nations of Freedonia and Sylvania. Groucho (as brilliant as ever) plays Rufus T. Firefly, the new leader of Freedonia, installed at the behest of the country’s rich benefactress, Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont), who sees him as a potential second husband; Zeppo (as bland as ever) plays his personal secretary; whilst Harpo and Chico (proving a great double act) play a pair of incompetent spies hired by the nefarious Sylvanian ambassador (Louis Calhern) to follow their rival’s moustachioed new leader, in the hopes of finding a way to provoke the revolution that would allow them to bring the country under their control. Inevitably, however, things do not go to plan for either side, with diplomatic relations soon breaking down, and war being declared. Battle-related hilarity ensues.