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Hail, Hail, Euphoria!: Presenting the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, the Greatest War Movie Ever Made

Roy Blount Jr.
Publisher It Books  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 7.95 x 5.25 x 0.4 inches
ISBN 9780061825927
Pages/Publication Date 145/2010
Daedalus Item Code 40717
This item is not available.
Nearly 80 years after its release, the Marx Brothers film Duck Soup remains one of the most influential pieces of political satire in film history. A slim, agile, quick-witted, self-assured young man is summoned to save a nation from financial ruin. As the nation's new president, he brings together a team of rivals, a band of brothers: Pinky, Chicolini, and Lt. Bob Roland. Roy Blount Jr. describes the history and making of the 1933 film, examining the comedic genius of the Marx Brothers in their finest hour and nine minutes—a behind-the-scenes tale of show business and brotherhood that only a true Marx Brothers aficionado could tell.

"Fifty years after first seeing Duck Soup, humorist Blount watched it again, worried that a new generation of viewers would 'walk all over my heaven' and disrespect the experience. Instead, he found that parents and children alike appreciated the wacky humor and subversive sensibilities of the movie that debuted in 1933. The Depression-era film didn't catch on until the 1960s, when the idea of reveling in a silly, completely unnecessary war was somehow construed as an antiwar message. Blount takes the reader through the more famous scenes of the movie, as Groucho Marx, playing Rufus Firefly, the leader of Freedonia, pushes the nation into bankruptcy and war with the occasional assistance and resistance of his brothers (Harpo as Pinky, Chico as Chicolini, and Zeppo as Lieutenant Bob Roland). Blount includes commentary on the Marx Brothers' personalities and careers: Groucho's acerbic wit, Chico's gambling and womanizing, Harpo's few speaking occasions. Zeppo, the straight man and former car thief, was reluctantly drafted into the act to replace brother Gummo, the least known of the brothers. Their mother, Minnie, was a stage mother to top all others, with a master plan for her sons that included capitalizing on shtick from vaudeville and memories of growing up Jewish in ethnic New York. Readers will enjoy the stories behind this iconic film and the careers of the Marx Brothers, director Leo McCarey, and frequent costar Margaret Dumont."—Booklist

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