DUCK SOUP directed by Leo McCarey (USA, 1933)

I’d forgotten just how anarchic and madcap The Marx Brothers’ movies were. I loved this manic energy as a kid and Harpo in particular still makes me crack up with his face pulling and bottomless pockets.

He’s the perfect foil to the continual wise cracking of Groucho and the bluster of Chico.  The hat switching  and mirror scenes are straight out of vaudeville and classic examples of comic timing.

The plot is bizarre and defies logic which is probably why it still works as an effective political satire.

A good example is in Kalmer & Ruby’s ‘These Are The Rules Of My Administration’ sung by new president of Freedonia Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho). These are as honest a manifesto as you’re likely the find anywhere:

“If any form of pleasure is exhibited
Report to me and it will be prohibited.
I’ll put my foot down, so shall it be.
This is the land of the free.
The last man nearly ruined this place
He didn’t know what to do with it
If you think this country’s bad off now
Just wait ’til I get through with it
The country’s taxes must be fixed
And I know what to do with it
If you think you’re paying too much now
Just wait ’til I get through with it”.

This is the great mirror scene: