Tag Archives: Marx Brothers

Film Favorites: Duck Soup

In some sense, a Marx Brothers film is a difficult film to review. The plot is insubstantial fluff and the straight material is as stiff and turgid as any 30’s B-picture. Thankfully, though, the one and only way the Marx Brothers could be described as “merciful” is in their merciless cutting of any “straight” material to its bare minimum during a time that all-but demanded it. While other films, even comedies, would go on and on forever with their central romantic love story and give way to episodic comedy in order to maintain a semblance of narrative, the Marx Brothers proudly couldn’t care less and included so little of the straight material so as to not even register. Even more-so, they absolutely skewer it, with the little included almost seeming like a satire of the need for all such films to hold themselves up to some semblance of narrative. They give us just enough to know we’re supposed to see a narrative in a film, and then they completely brush it to the side as if to say “you want a narrative, go fetch”. Continue reading