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Duck Soup (1933)


Widely considered the best Marx brothers film ever (and landing at #5 on the AFI’s list of top comedies), Duck Soup presents Groucho at his best, playing a dictator (of a country called Freedonia, natch) who starts a war over a girl who lives in a neighboring country (and who has saved Freedonia from bankruptcy). The other brothers Marx play the dictator’s henchmen and spies. It’s a farce about politics and war that, in my opinion, has lost some of its topicality. While the puns here are exquisitie and Groucho sparring with himself in a mirror (actually a stand-in) is a priceless moment of the cinema, the send-up of Mussolini-types doesn’t quite pan out. Take the comedy, leave the story.