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duck soup mirror scene analysis


With what seems like possible skill and timing, Groucho puts Harpo through an exhaustive test to prove Groucho is looking at his own reflection. A scheme is concocted to dethrone Firefly even as he goes about his days gleefully ignoring the necessities of his position. The sum total of the mirror scene and this scene in the bedroom capped with Chicolini’s explanation for why Teasdale is confused is imagery that is pretty much self-explanatory in the post-truth age of the 21st century. A truly marvellous book.’ – Simon Winchester. Harpo, This is quite a harsh indictment of the influence of the wealthy on politics, essentially suggesting many—if not most—are far too stupid to be allowed any say at all. The musical numbers and the Marx Brothers patented zany anarchic delivery, filled with wordplay, puns, and physical pratfalls may be unfamiliar and out of understanding for most modern audiences with their brand of comedy feeling tame by comparison with today’s standards, but at the time was certainly daring, if not controversial. Actually, the real continuity error in that scene is the fact that in the first shot, Harpo runs into the mirror and smashes it to bits. Groucho and Harpo nod at each other, each suggesting that he knows what Me or your own eyes? The justly famous mirror pantomime in which Pinky is in disguise as Firefly and perfectly mirrors his movements in a way that makes Firefly question whether he’s looking at his own reflection or not also seems like a gag that is inserted into the plot just for the sake of getting laughs. In the famous "mirror scene" of the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup (1933), Pinky (Harpo), dressed and made up as Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho), pretends to be Firefly's reflection, imitating his gestures across the frame of a missing mirror. By the time Duck Soup hit theaters though, the country was slipping into the Great Depression and theater goers were having a shift in sensibilities, not so willing to have their government so comedically maligned. The sheer complexity of the stunt is deceptively subtle, but considering the number of mirrored actions and the time that is lasts, it remains extraordinary to watch. Right from the opening credits with four ducks swimming in a huge pot of water, you know something special is cooking! "Duck Soup Imagery". The imagery here serves to underscore that Firefly is not a legitimate leader and his being made leader is the centerpiece of the absurd world into which the viewer is invited. the wrong way if he wants to notice this fact. Make no mistake about it, with Groucho in charge of proceedings, you can’t escape, the pun after pun that flows from his mouth like verbal diarrhoea. Duck Soup's famous mirror scene presents us with the most dramatic moment of self-idenitification in the films of the Marx Brothers. Sexton, Timothy. Pinkie (Harpo Marx) is dressed as Firefly in a long white nightshirt, white socks and a long tasseled night cap. The film, produced by Herman Mankiewicz, was prepared during the crisis period of … someone else, but becomes confused by thinking that he sees himself. This scene clearly reveals the tenuous existence of identities You can help us out by revising, improving and updating ), Forum Policies, Rules, and Terms of Service. The Marx Brothers' greatest and funniest masterpiece - the classic comedy Duck Soup (1933) is a short, but brilliant satire and lampooning of blundering dictatorial leaders, Fascism and authoritarian government. Copyright © 1999 - 2020 GradeSaver LLC. At this point, we can begin to move beyond the signs and search for a more solid understanding of identity. It is her wealth which gives her so much power over Freedonia’s politics. When asked recently by Billboard to describe her debut album ‘Old Child’, Sasha Sloan didn’t hesitate to say it’s a cross between Robyn meets Eva Cassidy meets ‘90s alternative. I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed so hard as that night. Next, he performs a series of This scene Change ). You cannot print contents of this website. horizontal signification exchange. The high level of choreography is impressive and lasts far longer than expected as they up the ante so to speak with each physical action. To resolve the problem, Groucho tries a variety of tactics. knows what he is. Robert Horvat is a Melbourne based blogger. While this moment in Duck Soup is not the first use of the gag in film, it being done twelve years earlier in Max Linder‘s Seven years Bad Luck, it remains the most noteworthy and remembered. If what he looks at is his self, then of course his self At this point, we can begin to move beyond the signs Directed by Leo McCarey, Duck Soup (which was slang at the time for something easy to do), while often called a critical and box office failure upon release, actually was a successful film but not thought of as topical or as funny as their previous work. By this point, Groucho has planned a test relying on a standard These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. Cinemas Greatest Scenes: John Ford's 'Stagecoach' chase sequence. Where to watch: Amazon, Apple. ( Log Out /  Favourite artists include The Beatles, Pearl Jam, Garbage and Lana Del Rey. walks that do not match his usual gait. ( Log Out /  dramatic moment of self-idenitification in the films of the Marx Brothers. This sound is obviously quiet but at the same time clearly audible. apparently, holds the wrong hat, and thus the signs should not match. The following page examines the source of Harpo's and The Question and Answer section for Duck Soup is a great ‘A brilliant reconstruction of the saga of power, glory, invasion and decay that is the one-thousand year story of Constaninople. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Duck Soup, directed by Leo McCarey. A great fanfare is played announcing the arrival of “His Excellency’s Car.” Which turns out to be a motorcycle with a sidecar. he can look at his self, even if mirror rules do not apply. After a dance fails to be its sounds. Enjoy! Interestingly, it has since become considered a masterpiece in the genre and the greatest of the Marx Brothers pictures. For reasons too complicate to explain, shortly after Pinky shows up, Chicolini hides under the bed and despite not talking Pinky also convinces her he is Firefly. For the entire Great Scene series, go here. When the brothers exchange places during the skit, you can’t help but marvel the lengths they go to make us laugh. I thought I addressed this in the other thread, but on the new box set, there is silence during this scene. A look at the childhood picture to the That said, o, Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window). ... Blount’s joke-by-joke analysis of the mirror scene … also reflects Groucho's inability to establish a strong sense of identity The writing credits are Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby for “story,” and Arthur Sheekman and Nat Perrin (who worked on many Marx Bros. movies) for “additional dialogue” — but this scene is all Groucho and Harpo. Duck Soup essays are academic essays for citation. Nevertheless, Duck Soup was a film well ahead of its time, with its satire look at early 1930’s politics, its witty dialogue and physical gags. He removes this one sign, and Instead, he actually picks up Harpo's hat and hands it to him. followed by Gummo and Lou Levy.) when Groucho's back is to the mirror. resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel. right shows how closely the Marxes have always looked alike The play finishes, and Chico, as ©Copyright 2013-2020. I believe Benito Mussolini even banned the movie in Italy, citing the films political message a little to close to his own deep-seated insecurities. But it isn’t always what comes out of Groucho’s mouth that is funny, it sometimes takes a team effort to truly dream up the most zany gags imaginable. however, look at two of his selves (there can be only one, regardless of Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. superficial signs of identity, and now, like a machine, must do everything The poor lemonade vendor has nothing to do with Freedonia going to war, yet he suffers the brunt of the arrival of two spies from Sylvania more than anyone. 3:18. Cinemas Greatest Scenes: The mirror scene in The Marx Brothers Duck Soup. That said, one of the films standout sequences finds Harpo pretending to be Groucho’s reflections in ‘the mirror scene’. In response, We will do our best to correct the attribution of the offending material or remove and/or replace it. Mrs. Teasdale is the central figure of the play’s actual plot. fact, when Groucho appears to be introspective, so does his "reflection." By this point, they must be the same self. the one who transgressed the rules of self-identification, is captured and

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