Monday, September 1, 2008

Duck Soup

Dir: Leo McCarey, 1933, bw (8.8*)
AFI Top 100
As Marx Brothers films go, this is the best. It includes the incredible mirror sequence between Groucho and Harpo, entirely based on timing. The movie has a typically inane plot: the government of Freedonia is bankrupt, and the country's richest woman, brilliantly played by Marx favorite Margaret Dumont, funds the government, but only if she chooses the President. Of course, that ends up being Rufus T. Firefly, Groucho of course, who wow's Margaret with this opening pickup sequence:
Groucho: Tell me, are you married, or are you rich? Answer the second question first....
Margaret: I'm a widow, I was with him 'til the end.
Groucho: Oh, so then it was homicide! ... you know, I could stay with you til the cows come home. On second thought, I could stay with the cows til you came home!

What woman could resist? The ensuing is a Marx-style sendup of politics, war, espionage (as the brothers are spies and counterspies), and government corruption. Director Leo McCarey later won two Oscars for Direction for The Awful Truth and Going My Way.

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.



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