Duck Soup is a 1933 Marx Brothers comedy film written by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby…. with additional dialogue by Arthur Sheekman and Nat Perrin and directed by Leo McCarey…..which was 1st released theatrically by Paramount Pictures on November 17, 1933….as this film was then billed as the “Four Marx Brothers”….with Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo….and also featured Margaret Dumont, Louis Calhern, Raquel Torres and Edgar Kennedy….for it was the last Marx Brothers film to feature Zeppo….and the last of five Marx Brothers movies released by Paramount Pictures.
Compared to the Marx Brothers’ previous Paramount films, Duck Soup was a box office disappointment ….although it was not a “flop” as is sometimes reported…for the film opened to mixed reviews….albeit this by itself did not end the group’s business with Paramount….as bitter contract disputes….which included a threatened walk-out by the Marx Brothers crippled relationships between them and Paramount just as Duck Soup went into production. After the film fulfilled their five-picture contract with the studio, the Marx Brothers and Paramount agreed to part ways.
While contemporaneous critics of Duck Soup felt it did not quite meet the standards of its predecessors, critical opinion has evolved….and the film has since achieved the status of a classic. Duck Soup is now widely considered among critics to be a masterpiece of comedy….and the Marx Brothers’ finest film. In 1990, the United States Library of Congress deemed Duck Soup to be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”….as it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. Any way you cut this pie….this is classic Marz Brothers comedy…..and well worth the watch any time anyone needs some good laughs.