Duck Soup

1933 film directed by Leo McCarey

Duck Soup is a 1933 film about Rufus T. Firefly, who is named president/dictator of bankrupt Freedonia on the insistence of wealthy Mrs. Teasdale and declares war on neighboring Sylvania.

Directed by Leo McCarey. Written by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby.
War Is Swell ...when the Marx Brothers are in it. They'll be out of the trenches by Christmas...if the food doesn't improve.taglines

Rufus T. Firefly

  • I could dance with you till the cows come home. On second thought, I'd rather dance with the cows till you came home.
  • Don't look now, but there's one man too many in this room, and I think it's you.
  • [locked in a closet] Hey let me out! Let me out of here, or throw me a magazine!
  • I'll see my lawyer about this as soon as he graduates from law school.
  • Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot. But don't let that fool you. He really is an idiot.
  • [on a telephone] Get me headquarters. Not hindquarters, headquarters!
  • Remember, you're fighting for this woman's honor, which is probably more than she ever did.


Mrs. Teasdale: As chairwoman of the reception committee, I extend the good wishes of every man, woman and child of Freedonia.
Rufus T Firefly: Never mind that stuff, take a card. [Fans out a deck of playing cards]
Mrs. Teasdale: [Picks one from the fan] Card? What do I do with the card?
Firefly: You can keep it. I got fifty one left! Now, what were you saying?
Mrs. Teasdale: As chairwoman of the reception committee, I welcome you with open arms.
Firefly: Is that so? How late do you stay open?
Mrs. Teasdale: I've sponsored your appointment because I feel you are the most able statesman in all Freedonia.
Firefly: Well, that covers a lot of ground. Say, you cover a lot of ground yourself. You'd better beat it; I hear they're gonna tear you down and put up an office building where you're standing. You can leave in a taxi. If you can't get a taxi, you can leave in a huff. If that's too soon, you can leave in a minute and a huff. You know, you haven't stopped talking since I came here. You must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle.

Trentino: Your Excellency, haven't we seen each other somewhere before?
Firefly: I don't think so; I'm not sure I'm seeing you now, it must be something I ate.
Trentino: Look here, sir, are you trying to-?!
Firefly: Don't look now... but there's one man too many in this room, and I think it's you.

Firefly: Not that I care, but where is your husband?
Mrs. Teasdale: Why, he's dead.
Firefly: I'll bet he's just using that as an excuse.
Mrs. Teasdale: I was with him to the very end.
Firefly: Hmmph. No wonder he passed away.
Mrs. Teasdale: I held him in my arms and kissed him.
Firefly: Oh, I see. Then, it was murder. Will you marry me? Did he leave you any money? Answer the second question first.
Mrs. Teasdale: He left me his entire fortune.
Firefly: Is that so? Can't you see what I'm trying to tell you? I love you! [jumps into her arms]
Mrs. Teasdale: Oh, your Excellency!
Firefly: You're not so bad yourself.

Mrs. Teasdale: The eyes of the world are upon you. Notables from every country are gathered here in your honor. This is a gala day for you.
Firefly: Well, a gal a day is enough for me. I don't think I could handle any more.

Trentino: Have you been trailing Firefly?
Chicolini: Have we been trailing Firefly? Why, my partner he's got a nose just like a bloodhound!
Trentino: Oh really?
Chicolini: Yes, and the rest of his face don't look so good either.

Treasury minister: Your Excellency, here's the Treasury department's report. I hope you'll find it clear.
Firefly: "Clear?" Huh! Why, a four-year-old child could understand this report! (aside as he passes the report to Bob Roland) Run out and find me a four-year-old child, I can't make head or tail of it. And now, members of the Cabinet, we'll take up old business.
Trade Minister: I wish to discuss the tariff.
Firefly: Sit down, that's new business. [pause] No old business? Very well, we'll take up new business.
Trade Minister: Now about the tariff-
Firefly: Too late, that's old business already. Sit down.
Secretary of War: Gentlemen, as your Secretary of war-
Firefly: The Secretary of War is out of order! Which reminds me, so is the plumbing. Make a note of that. Never mind, I'll do it myself.
[He makes a note with an absurdly large quill-pen]
Labor Minister: The Department of Labor wishes to report that the workers of Freedonia are demanding shorter hours.
Firefly: Very well, then we'll give them shorter hours. We'll start by cutting their lunch hour to 20 minutes. (the Cabinet exchange startled looks) Now, gentlemen, we've got to start looking for a new Treasurer.
Labor Minister: But you appointed one last week!
Firefly: That's the one I'm looking for!
Secretary of War: Gentlemen, gentlemen. Enough of this. How about taking up the tax?
Firefly: How about taking up the carpet?
Secretary of War: I still insist we take up the tax!
Firefly: [to Bob Roland] He's right—you've got to take up the tacks before you take up the carpet.
Secretary of War: I give all my time and energy to my duties, and what do I get?
Firefly: You get awfully tiresome after a while.
Secretary of War: Sir, you try my patience.
Firefly: I don't mind if I do. You must come over and try mine some time.
Secretary of War: That's the last straw! I resign. I wash my hands of the whole business!
Firefly: Good idea. You can wash your neck too.

Chicolini: He's some smart dog. You know, he went with Admiral Byrd to the Pole.
Firefly: I'll bet the dog got to the pole first.

Chicolini: I think we should have a standing army.
Firefly: Why should we have a standing army?
Chicolini: Because that way we save money on chairs!

Lemonade Vendor: I'll teach you to kick me!
Chicolini: You don't have to teach me—I know how! [kicks him]

Vera: Oh, for heaven's sake, don't make a sound. If you found, you lost.
Chicolini: Oh, you crazy. How can I be lost if I'm found?

Mrs. Teasdale: But I saw you with my own eyes!
Chicolini: [in disguise as Rufus T. Firefly] Well, who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?

Chicolini: Hello, boss!
Firefly: Chicolini, I bet you eight-to-one we find you guilty.
Chicolini: At's-a no good; I can get ten-to-one at the barbershop.
Officer: Chicolini, you're charged with high treason, and if found guilty, you will be shot.
Chicolini: I object.
Officer: [scoffs] Oh, you object? On what grounds?
Chicolini: I couldn't think of anything else to say.
Firefly: [raps gavel] Objection sustained.
Officer: Your Excellency, you sustained the objection?!
Firefly: Sure, I couldn't think of anything else to say, either. Why don't you object?

Mrs. Teasdale: Ambassador Trentino is here on a friendly visit. He's had a change of heart.
Firefly: A lot of good that'll do him! He's still got the same face.

Prosecutor: Something must be done. War would meant a prohibitive increase in our taxes.
Chicolini: Hey, I've got an uncle that lives in Taxes.
Prosecutor: No, I'm talking about taxes. Money. Dollars.
Chicolini: Dollas! There's-a where my uncle lives! Dollas, Taxes!

Chicolini: I wouldn't go out there unless I had one of those big iron things that go up and down. What do you call those things?
Firefly: Tanks.
Chicolini: You're welcome.

Firefly: You're the Secretary of War. Why don't you do something?
Chicolini: I've done it already. I've changed to the other side.
Firefly: You're on the other side, eh? Then what are you doing over here?
Chicolini: Well, the food is better over here.


  • War Is Swell ...when the Marx Brothers are in it. They'll be out of the trenches by Christmas...if the food doesn't improve.
  • Gags the whole town will be telling! Songs that will burst your bathroom walls! BOY HOW THEY HAND IT OUT!
  • A wild crazy nightmare of fun!
  • Laughing Soup...concocted, brewed and dished up by the Mad Marxes...Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo.
  • The fanciest dish of screams—howls—beauty and music ever concocted.
  • Bring Your Straight Jackets. You'll Roll In the Aisles.


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