Monday, August 31, 2009

Bank Holiday Film Festival: Finale

Needless to say, any examination of the cinematic depiction of the machinery of government has to include...
Movie poster: Duck Soup
Duck Soup (1933)

"What has four pairs of pants, lives in Philadelphia, and it never rains but it pours?"
The older and more inexperienced I become in the business of public service the more that I come to realise the documentary elements of this film.

The small independent state of Freedonia is on its uppers and negotiates a $20,000,000 donation from the wealthy widow Mrs. Gloria Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) to save its economy. There is a catch: the money is only available if Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) is appointed President. From here on in it's the ride of your life. These days we have the rewind button; how much must people have missed watching it the first time at the pictures?

I don't want to spoil anything for you if you haven't seen it. You want to see it. You really, really want to see it. The plot's all over the place (just like working in the public sector in fact) and it doesn't matter a bit. It's a freewheeling trip through a collection of mad sketches, dialogues and some of the best visual pantomime on the silver screen.

Good God, even Zeppo gets to play an active part!

As a taster for any tyros, and a celebration for the rest of us...

9 comments:

Gadjo Dilo said...

I don't think I've ever seen Duck Soup, which is a pretty sad admission to make. I love that vaudeville stuff though, and wasn't Margaret Dumont the perfect foil - is it true that she was entirely bald and the hair really is a wig?

Kevin Musgrove said...

We need to get you up to speed, Gadjo!

Margaret Dumont was a splendid foil, not just to the Marx Brothers but also to W.C.Fields.

Madame DeFarge said...

I seem to have spent half my life being Margaret Dumont. She is my role model.

Lulu LaBonne said...

OK - I'm off to see if I can get a dvd - sounds just my cu of tea - if only to see Mme D's role model in action.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Mme. DF: I expect it works wonders in the office.

Lulu: you won't be sorry, honest!

Damion009 said...

god i love movies like this!

Kevin Musgrove said...

Happy to please Damion!

Ellis Nadler said...

greatest scene ever filmed

Kevin Musgrove said...

It's a difficult one to argue with, Ellis!