Duck Soup

In perhaps the most lighthearted war movie ever made, 1933's Duck Soup, Groucho Marx plays the war-crazed but cowardly leader of Freedonia, who directs an invasion for his own personal gain. Chico and Harpo are enemy spies who try to halt the plan, and everyone pivots around the great and stately Margaret Dumont, Groucho's foil and benefactor. The dazzling 1933 comedy was made at a safe distance from WWI, the Spanish Civil War hadn't yet begun, and WWII was only a gleam in Hitler's eye, so the laughs came easy. ("Remember, you're fighting for this woman's honor, which is probably more than she ever did.") You can make the case for Duck Soup being the Marx brothers' greatest film; today, it's certainly their most topical. It also helps that the gags are so expertly arranged by director Leo McCarey. Screened as part of SIFF's Film4Families series. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Sat., April 14, noon; Sun., April 15, noon, 2012

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