Duck Soup (Leo McCarey, 1933)

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Duck Soup (Leo McCarey, 1933)

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 01, 2015 3:41 pm

What genre is this movie? What characteristics and genre conventions have you found during the screening? Please post pictures or clips to support your comments, if available.


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Re: Duck Soup (Leo McCarey, 1933)

Post by vcamp on Wed Oct 07, 2015 10:01 pm

Duck Soup is a classic Marx Brother films and for anyone who knows the Marx Brothers knows that their films are comedies, but if you had never seen this film before it would not take long for you to soon realise this is a comedy, however the beginning of the film would lead you to believe it is of a more serious matter, as we see people of power discussing an important issue which sets the story. In the title scene we see director Leo McCarey using a shot of four ducks in a bird bath, not only do the four duck to represent each Marx Brother, it also plays homage to the film title, a title that followed there short string of animal named films they had previously made.
Throughout the film quick witted comebacks and jokes are used. The humour is based on the classic set up followed by a punch line, for example:  
Prosecutor: “Something must be done! War would mean a prohibitive increase in our taxes.”
Chicolini: “Hey, I got an uncle lives in Taxes.”
Prosecutor: “No, I'm talking about taxes - money, dollars!”
Chicolini: “Dollars! There's-a where my uncle lives! Dollars, Taxes”
This quick comedy makes the film jam packed with laughs. The costumes of the Marx Brothers also shows the genre of the film as their over exaggerated appearance and actions used in the film make the silent jokes more humours. Compared to more modern comedies this film plays on some simpler, but cleaver prop usage that could only come from a film in this style.
Stereotypes are also used in this film when we see Harpo playing the role of a spy/detective wearing a deerstalker, as well as the wealthy characters always wearing the finest clothes and accessories. When it comes to the Mise- En- Scene we see many things which have been placed in frame for very specific reasons such as the turkeys, geese, and cabbage, this is also fits the genre of the film as this is what Groucho Marx describes as the ingredients for “Duck Soup”.

Sound was also a factor that was used to enhance the comedy as in one memorable scene where we hear what we think is a phone ringing but it is a hidden alarm clock. I feel throughout this film the main factors used in making and breaking down a film were used to enhance the humour of this film. Comedy films such as this are timeless and allow inspiration and repetitive absurdity. We have seen elements of this through the ever famous Monty Python and the ‘Missing Mirror’ parody by Lucille Ball and many others. By using ‘basic’ jokes not based on specific time events this film stays somewhat relevant to today and holds all the classic elements of a classic comedy, such as, punch lines, slapstick, visual comedy and repetitive jokes.


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