Friday, February 16, 2007

FREEDONIA'S GOING TO WAR

Sorry. No Friday Silly Movie Of My Youth Of The Day today folks. Please feel free to choose (and even accept) one of the following excuses:

1. My dog ate it.
2. I'm hungover after meeting an old work friend last night.
3. I have no idea what movie to do this week.
4. My operating system crashed.
5. Al Qaeda

At any rate, I feel it's my solemn duty to supply you with movie-related comedy on Friday morning, so here's a great clip from the Marx Brothers' 1933 classic, Duck Soup. Make sure you watch from the 2 minute point on, for one of the funniest musical segments I've ever seen. Absolute craziness. Plus, Zeppo is in there, as is Margaret Dumont:



In one of those seemingly coincidental occurences that sprinkle their way across life, within of few days of choosing The Kentucky Fried Movie as FSMOMYOTD back in December, this arrived from my Netflix queue. And the line of comedy that inspired KFM goes right back to the Marx Brothers.

I'd never seen Duck Soup, and I'm amazed I made it this long. I saw Monkey Business on TCM a few months ago, and found their anarchic shenanigans very appealing, very funny, and so . . . somehow modern to me. And if you've never watched one of the Marx Brothers' earlier, Paramount films, you'll have to trust me: it's the embrace of utter chaos, a sense that at any moment, the whole thing could just careen off the road that's so appealing to a modern, comedic sensibility. Think of Elliot Gould's Trapper in MASH: always irreverent in the face of danger and authority. Groucho went down that road many years earlier.

Of course, like any gifted comics, the chaos is perfectly choreographed, planned to perfection. The anarchy and at time, meanness, of their capers, is infused by a joyous energy, as if to say, "Come on board; this is the most enjoyable ride you'll get today." Cool stuff. Duck Soup is really quite funny.

And if you haven't checked out the YouTube clip, I recommend it.

29 Comments:

Blogger George said...

You'd never seen Duck Soup! I never tire of it--it's so funny on so many levels, and now it almost plays as satire of the Bush Administration and its way with war. There's a great boxset that features the 5 films from The Cocoanuts to Duck Soup. Buy it at once.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Yeah. The Marx Bros. were one of those things I just assumed was badly dated, and avoided. I love classic movies, but comedy gets dicey as the years go by. A lot of the "all-time funniest movies" aren't actually funny, even as you appreciate them for what they are.

But I was wrong: the Marx Brothers are still FUNNY, even if some of the vaudville/slapstick schtick hasn't aged well.

As for satire, yeah. It works. A friend of mine just e-mailed me saying that it'd be funny if someone photoshopped Cheney's, Wolfowitz's, Rumsfeld's faces onto that clip.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous John Royal said...

Some of the Marx Bros. later stuff has dated, and dated badly. This is because the studios tried to contain them, and take out the anarchy.

But the early stuff is pure genius. Especially "Duck Soup." Hail Fredonia indeed.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous John Royal said...

Oh, and I'm going to guess that it's all Al Qaeda's fault, because they convinced your dog to eat your homework while you were out getting drunk with that "so-called" old friend of yours.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Toasty Joe said...

Hooray for Cap'n Spauling, the African Explorer! Thanks for the grat clip.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

First of all, who's this "John Royal" person??? No Clown anymore?

As to the later stuff, I saw part of A Day At The Races on cable a few years ago. Some very funny stuff, but overall it was too long. It didn;'t maintain the same steamroller energy that Duck Soup has. Plus, DS is only 1:06. No filler, no slow spots. Just relentless craziness.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Toasty - I saw Animal Crackers a bout a week or two after seeing this one. Some good stuff, but not at the same level. Waaaaayyyyy too much filler. It's over an hour-and-a-half long, with long, unrelated musical numbers, etc.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Smitty said...

First, I blame Al Qaeda for no Silly Movie tis week. Had you not been so cowed by fear at their hands, surely you would have been able to put a post together. We should go to war with them.

As foir Duck Soup, it is, in light of our own situation (and as many of your other Astute Readers have observed), very timely indeed. I love the switch from congeniality to a slap in the face all based on a fictitious scenario in Groucho's own mind that became reality. Lie to yourself often enough... Pure comedy.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I blame Al Qaeda

War is the answer. Let's git 'er done.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Ed in Westchester said...

6. George Bush

fixed the list.

1:27 PM  
Blogger Comandante Agí said...

Git' R Done indeed. Just imagine what would have happened if Congress text-messaged Daniel Boone before the Alamo to express their disapproval. We would have lost the Alamo!!! Oh, wait...

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Thanks, Ed. I forgot I'm supposed to blame Bush for everything.

Agi - Did the congressperson actually say "Daniel Boone," and not "Davey Crockett"? Or is it you who has his coonskin cap-wearing American folk heroes mixed up. ;-)

Davey Crockett, incidently, was a Congressman at one point, and spoke out vehemently against the Indian Wars and the Trail of Tears.

1:36 PM  
Blogger The Clown said...

The Clown surfaces to comment, only when the special comments of The Clown are required.

Otherwise, this one named John Royal speaks for me.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

The Clown seems to be afflicted with Rickey Hendersonitis.

3:56 PM  
Blogger The Clown said...

The Clown can think of no better role model than Rickey Henderson.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Not sure what's worse: that you think Rickey Henderson is a role model . . . or that I agree with you.

Actually, what's worst is that I'm conversing about this with someone who voluntarily calls himself "The Clown."

5:58 PM  
Blogger Comandante Agí said...

Oy. I'm just as bad as a Congressman.

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

Nice post. I've gotta rent that.

Speaking of classic flicks we've never seen: I DVRd "Network" a week or so ago. You know the only part I've seen...about a zillion times. Actually, I guess I saw another scene a few years' back, but I can't remember what happened.

I'm pumped -- though I'm not sure how much the wife will like it.

Applesaucer

p.s., Please don't tell me I analyzed the move for you a decade or so ago; if you do, one of us will need to go for a CAT scan.

p.p.s, I saw "Breach" yesterday. A decent flick, but one that I'll forget about by next week.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I'm pumped -- though I'm not sure how much the wife will like it.

We watched it about 2 months ago. She liked it too.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

I'm worried that the whole cheap '70s look, feel, production values, etc. will put my wife off from the gitgo.

It has almost the opposite effect [affect?] on me, of course.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

It looks 70s-ish, especially the newsroom sets, etc. But it's not that bad.

(All that being said, I'm not confident Mrs. Saucer is gonna be digging on Sidney Lumet's mid-70s skepticism, idealism, and pathos.)

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

Yeah, maybe I'll watch it without her.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Otto Man said...

Nice. Duck Soup is probably their best work, but Horse Feathers and Night at the Opera are classics, too. They're the ones that they did on either side of DS so it seems that was when they were in the zone.

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Horse Feathers is definitely good. But like Animal Crackers, it has its share of filler. Chico & Harpo could really play their instruments, but it's not compelling filmmaking to watch them perform musical interludes.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

Remember the zombie flick discussion that happened here a while back? Well, it looks like Tarantino made one set to release on April 6th.

Actually, he's making the full-length, "slasher flick" back-end of a double feature, the front-end of which is a zombie flick. (I had to truncate the link for purposes of posting here).

http://www.firstshowing.net

/2007/02/18/are-you-going-to-the-grindhouse/

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Looks like the Rodriguez half of the double feature is a Zombie flick. Tarantino's is a "slasher film."

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

Here's the trailer. I'm all over this one come April (again: truncated for posting purposes):

http://playlist.yahoo.com/

makeplaylist.dll?

id=1556654&sdm=web&qtw=480&qth=300

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Sounds fun, but I don't how I can handle this in the theater. What's it gonna be: 3 1/2 hours?

I can't see you sitting still that long either.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

"Sounds fun, but I don't how I can handle this in the theater"

Jeez, you're a regular barrel 'o monkeys.

In any event, the trailer says it's 2.5 hours and that's for two movies with fake coming attractions in between.

11:21 AM  

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