My favorite American movie made before 1960, and still one of the most certifiably insane movies ever made.

It basically involved a fictional country called Freedonia, which happens to be very bankrupt. So the richest widow in the land Mrs. Teasdale (played by Margaret Dumont), proposes to offer 20 million dollars to Freedonia if they appoint the a new president of her choosing, Rufus T. Firefly (played by Groucho Marx). He competes with Ambassador Trentino of Sylvania (played by Louis Calhern) over Mrs. Teasdale's hand in marriage. And the competition is so fierce they go to war.

Thusly everything goes mad, full of insults, pratfalls, and lots of other fun trademark Marx Brothers stuff. Only this time it's a lot better than any of their other works. But then again all of them are great.

You're a brave man. Go and break through the lines. And remember, while you're out there risking your life and
limb through shot and shell, we'll be in here thinking what a sucker you are.

-Rufus T. Firefly

Duck Soup was the fifth Marx Brothers comedy film to be made. It was made in 1933 and directed by Leo McCarey. The script was written by Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby, Arthur Sheekman, and Nat Perrin. The film is in black and white and runs for 70 minutes.

The country of Freedonia has recently become bankrupt, and to solve its money problems accepts a twenty million dollar donation from Mrs. Teasdale in exchange for accepting Rufus T. Firefly as their new leader. As, Rufus T. Firefly attempts to win the hand of Mrs. Teasdale, the ambassador of Sylvania, Trentino, attempts the same.

And when such a thing happens, it can only lead to war!

Groucho, as usual, plays the main character, while Harpo and Chico are two normal workers hired to spy on the Ambassador. Zeppo plays a straight role as Groucho's secretary. Zeppo plays a very small role in this film, and it is in fact the last Marx Brothers film he will make.

Also, one fun-filled fact is that at the time of the production of this film the town of Fredonia(one e), NY complained about the movie using a name similar to the town's name. The Brothers sent them a reply of "Change the name of your town, it's hurting our picture."

Songs Featured: Cast:
Groucho Marx - Rufus T. Firefly
Harpo Marx - Pinky
Chico Marx - Chicolini
Zeppo Marx - Bob Rolland
Margaret Dumont -Mrs. Teasdale
Raquel Torres - Vera Marcal
Louis Calhern - Ambassador Trentino
Edmund Breese - Zander
Leonid Kinskey - Agitator
Charles Middleton - Prosecutor
Edgar Kennedy - Street Vendor
Wade Boteler - (uncredited)
E.H. Calvert - Bit Part (uncredited)
Davison Clark - Second Minister of Finance (uncredited)
Verna Hillie - Secretary (uncredited)
George MacQuarrie - First Judge (uncredited)
Edwin Maxwell - Secretary of War (uncredited)
Eric Mayne - Third Judge (uncredited)
Dennis O'Keefe - (uncredited)
Frederick Sullivan - Second Judge (uncredited)
Dale Van Sickel - (uncredited)
William Worthington - First Minister of Finance (uncredited)


Winning this game will be duck soup!

The phrase 'duck soup' is an old Americanism that has been around since at least 1902. It refers to something that is very easy. A cinch. A breeze. Like falling off a log. It has been in constant use for 100 years, although it is admittedly becoming less and less common as time goes on. The most interesting thing about it is that no one knows where it came from.

The first recorded use of duck soup is from 1902, when cartoonist Tad Dorgan used it in a rather odd cartoon. It was a drawing of a man in police court, juggling a bottle, a pitcher, a plate, and a salt shaker. It was captioned, simply, "Duck Soup".

We don't know what Mr. Dorgan was talking about, but since then it has come into common usage to mean something very easy. The second appearance of duck soup was in 1908, when cartoonist Harry Conway Fisher used it in his strip A. Mutt (later to become Mutt & Jeff). This time the meaning was clear from context: "Attorney Shortribs announced that it would be duck soup to clear their client."

And that's it. We have no idea why duck soup would imply easy. Duck soup is not hard to make, but it's no easier than chicken soup. It might be related to the phrase 'a sitting duck', or maybe 'everything's just ducky', but then what does soup have to do with anything? It's possible that 'duck soup' just refers to a duck sitting in a pond (and thus, duck soup is a soup that naturally makes itself), but still, you'd think we would have heard about this before it reached the comic page.

And that's the mystery of duck soup.

Apollyon says re Duck Soup: I have a possible origin for you, although it's a bit of a stretch. "Gold dust soup" may have become "duck soup." The story goes (emphasis on story) that a kitchen owner in a gold rush took payment in gold dust which he measured with the same spoon that he stirred the soup with. The gold which stuck to the spoon was stirred back in. When he left the pot had a thick layer of gold on the bottom of it and thus he took home more gold than the miners using an easier method. Easy as dust soup.

And a little more from Tem42: It appears that pioneer children also played at making 'saw dust soup', mixing saw dust, water, dirt, rocks, and the like in a make believe soup. A very easy soup to make... Perhaps 'dust soup' morphed into 'duck soup'?

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