Rat-a-tat zaniness – bat$hit crazy for its entire 69-minute running time. Unlike lesser Marx Brothers films there’s no pretense made here about a straight story or love story- every sketch is fire, going for broke for laughs and acidic political flamethrowing (the sheer anarchy of it all- and the comparisons, 31 years before, to Kubrick’s Strangelove)
Breaking into song, the careful and uproarious repetition of gags
Margaret Dumont is the perfect foil and sparring partner for Groucho
It’s near impossible to pick the best sketch, the mirror sketch is brilliant, the one where Harpo meets a girl on a horse then they cut to her shoes, his shoes and the horses shoes—haha, the “To War” song sequence may top it though – the extras, the banjo, ingenious and wild—the inspiration for living for Woody Allen in Hannah and Her Sisters
An unmitigated triumph of joke-writing and comedic performances
Harpo chasing women, putting his leg in others hands, cutting cigars and hot dogs, haha
Post-World War I nihilism. “run out and buy some trenches”, gas attack jokes, cutting the tops off the ridiculously designed helmets.
The right choice for the playful wipe edits for McCarey
A Highly-Recommend Must-See film—there’s a distinction here between the best work of the Marx Brothers (who were brilliant in front of the camera) and say Buster Keaton who was a genius in front of and, yes, more importantly, behind the camera. I do believe that Leo McCarey is the best director the Marx Brothers ever worked with and it is probably no coincidence this is the best movie they made—but I never leave Duck Soup (and I’ve seen it 10 times) impressed with McCarey or, if I’m watching it in 1933 dying to see what he does next.