I must begin with a slightly embarrassing statement of fact: until now, I had never seen even a clip of anything done by the Marx Brothers. Not even the scene with Harpo and Lucile Ball from I Love Lucy (though I clearly know of its existence). That being said, a lot of pressure was placed on this viewing of Duck Soup, my first ever Marx Bros. film. I think it may have ruined the experience.
That being said, I’m slightly sad to say, I didn’t love it. Trying to research the film for more back story on its context I found very little, in fact next to nothing, They ran amok for the sake of running amok, and they were very skilled at their silliness and tomfoolery. Unfortunately it was just a little too silly for me. I really don’t have much else to say about it, though I wish I did.
The best things I can say about it is that, for the most part, Groucho’s razor sharp wit had me in stitches, while Harpo and Chico’s slapstick bozo moments made me snicker. On the whole I’ve never been a huge slapstick fan, save for perhaps Buster Keaton (who I always thought was more sophisticated than straight slapstick). As such their gifts as a comedy troupe, if you will, were sufficiently wasted on me.
I’m disappointed in my lack of appreciation for the Marx Brothers. I wanted to take more from it, but feel like I’ve been left wanting more. Besides Duck Soup, are there any other Marx Brothers films that anyone can think of that may, perhaps, tickle my fancy a bit more?
This post was originally published on my tumblr on December 11, 2011.