Memorial Day Film Festival, Part 2
Granted, both Dr. Strangelove and M*A*S*H are great antiwar comedies. But for my money, the funniest of all is the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup from 1933. With a broad brush, it brilliantly skewered not only the War Machine but politics and the State in general.
It’s hard to believe that when first released, Duck Soup was a terrible flop both critically and commercially. Such disrespect for government and political leaders was unheard of — and especially during a time of crisis, with the Depression at home and Hitler gaining power abroad! Gee, even Mussolini hated the movie; he banned it in
Two classic moments...
First, at his coronation as the new leader of Freedonia, Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) performs a song and dance number to explain his new program for the nation:
"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!
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...”
Second, Pinkie (Harpo) contributes to the war effort by wandering the front lines, wearing a recruitment sign that reads: