101 Funniest Screenplays

Duck Soup is the film that Harold Bloom called one of the great works of art of the past century,” noted critic Dana Stevens in The New York Times. “It’s one of the movies T. S. Eliot wanted to discuss when he met with Groucho in 1964, and the one that inspired Woody Allen’s character in Hannah and Her Sisters not to go home and shoot himself,” Stevens added. Mussolini banned Duck Soup, though any similarities between Italy’s most famous fascist and Groucho’s Rufus T. Firefly were purely coincidental. Woody Allen once called Duck Soup “probably the best talking comedy ever made.” Broadway composers Harry Ruby and Bert Kalmar wrote the screenplay and musical numbers (“Hail, Hail Freedonia!”) and Nat Perrin and Arthur Sheekman got credit for additional dialogue. With Chico and Harpo as the spies Chicolini and Pinky, and the sublime Margaret Dumont as the doyenne Mrs. Treasdale.