Duck Soup (1933)

Film and Plot Synopsis

The Marx Brothers are back with another misadventure. This time, Groucho is playing Rufus T. Firefly, the recently installed dictator of the nearly bankrupt country of Freedonia. Firefly is charged with restoring the country to its former glory. However, Firefly’s sudden installation disrupts the plans of the nearby country of Sylvania, who has designs on annexing Freedonia. Sylvania’s ambassador dispatches two spies, played by Chico and Harpo, to dig up dirt on Firefly for the ambassador to overthrow Firefly. Will Firefly survive the political landscape and restore Freedonia? Watch Duck Soup to find out.

‘Duck Soup’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Duck Soup (1933) The fictional country of Freedonia is in a severe economic crisis and is quickly approaching insolvency. The government of Freedonia desperately needs an influx of $20 million from wealthy socialite Mrs. Gloria Teasdale (Margaret Dumont). Mrs. Teasdale agrees to underwrite the budget of Freedonia in exchange for the installation of Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) as leader of the country. This sudden change of the political landscape in Freedonia along with the money provided by Mrs. Teasdale disrupts the plans of Sylvania, Freedonia’s neighboring country. Sylvania has plans to annex the cash strapped Freedonia. Sylvania’s ambassador, Trentino (Louis Calhern), tries to instigate a revolution in the country against Firefly while simultaneously trying to court Mrs. Teasdale. At the same time, Trentino solicits the services of two spies, Chicolini (Chico Marx) and Pinky (Harpo Marx), to dig up dirt on Firefly for the Sylvanian ambassador to overthrow Firefly.

However, Chicolini and Pinky are incompetent and utterly fail to collect any useful information against Firefly. Fortunately for them, they are able to infiltrate the government. Chicolini himself is appointed as Secretary of War after Firefly notices him selling peanuts outside of his window. A short time later, Firefly’s secretary, Lieutenant Bob Roland (Zeppo Marx), informs Firefly of his suspicions about Trentino’s secret motives. Lt. Roland advises Firefly to get rid of the evil Sylvanian ambassador by insulting the thin-skinned Trentino. Firefly agrees to the plan and lobs a series of insults at Trentino. However, the plan goes awry when Firefly slaps Trentino instead of allowing the ambassador to slap the leader of Freedonia. As a direct result, the two countries come to the brink of war.

The international situation is further complicated by the fact that Firefly is attempting to woo Mrs. Teasdale to have access to her late husband’s wealth. This complicates Trentino’s efforts to seduce Mrs. Teasdale for her money. During the two men’s “love” war, Trentino learns that Freedonia’s war plans against Sylvanian are being kept in Mrs. Teasdale’s safe. Trentino learns this from his sexy spy Vera Marcal (Raquel Torres) who is imbedded near Firefly. Trentino dispatches Chicolini and Pinky to steal the plans from the safe.

Before acquiring the documents, Chicolini is captured by Firefly and his forces. Firefly has Chicolini put on trial which turns into a farce. The trial leads to a formal war being declared between Freedonia and Sylvania. The war frenzy causes everyone to break into song and dance. Not long after, Freedonia is immersed in a hot war. Chicolini and Pinky switch sides and join Firefly and Roland. The characters are surrounded by mayhem with bombs going off all around.

The film ends after the war. Trentino is caught in a makeshift pillory while Firefly, Chicolini, Pinky, and Roland pelt him with fruit. Trentino offers to surrender, but Firefly tells his enemy to wait until they run out of fruit. Mrs. Teasdale turns patriotic and begins singing the Freedonia national anthem in an operatic voice. Firefly, Chicolini, Pinky, and Roland turn their attention to her and begin pelting her with fruit.

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Paramount Pictures released Duck Soup on November 17, 1933. Leo McCarey directed the film starring Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo Marx.

User Rating: 2.25 ( 1 votes)
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