The Revelations of Comedy: Duck Soup at the Campus Theater

Earlier this semester, the short days and the cold weather was starting to wear on my attitude. Luckily, Provost Mick Smyer chose to feature Duck Soup (1933) at the Campus Theater and the goofiness of the comedy genuinely helped life my spirits. Smyer’s introduction to the movie praised the efforts of the Campus Theater staff for working so hard to bring in old movies from the country’s many film collections. He also made a point of noting the power of comedy and how it is a useful tool for seeing the absurdity of our world.

Primed by Smyer’s introduction, I was as intent on noticing the political commentary of Duck Soup as a I was enthralled by the surface level comedic film. The Marx Brothers’ slapstick had the audience laughing throughout the film, and the script was full of quick wit that kept everyone waiting for the next one liner. For all its slapstick and laughs, the movie was definitely riddled with political commentary as the premise involves a country in financial ruin is led into war over a woman by an inept president/dictator. The woman financing the survival of the country had the power to decide who was in charge. And the man she picked, Rufus T. Firefly uses word play to run his country into the ground and his pride leads him into a war, where he shoots his own men. While the film is hilarious, I liked that it was grounded in very real things like leadership, money, and war. It was a very enjoyable movie and I was happy to have another reason to attend an event at the beautiful Campus Theater.

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