Hail, Hail, Euphoria!: Presenting the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, the Greatest War Movie Ever Made ペーパーバック – 2011/11/22
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Bestselling author Roy Blount Jr. tells the story of theclassic Marx Brothers wartime satire Duck Soup. As always, Blount isinformed yet informal, tongue-in-cheek yet tempered, providing the perfectvoice to recount the irreverent antics of Harpo, Chico, Groucho, and Zeppo. Readers of HarpoSpeaks, The Essential Groucho,and Monkey Business and fans of Animal Crackers, A Night at the Opera and the Marx Brothers’ other timelesscomedies—as well as all fans of Blount’s witty and insightful books like Alphabet Juice and Feet on the Street and listeners to NPR’s weekly news quiz, Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me—will becaptivated by the lyrical humorist’s compelling, behind-the-scenes storytellingof the 1933 classic film.
“Hail, Hail, Euphoria! is the most lyrical, insightful, scholarly, illuminating and celebratory 144 pages I’ve ever sat down with. This book is a stream of fun.” (Wall Street Journal)
“Roy Blount Jr. knows from humor. In [Hail, Hail, Euphoria!], he sets out to remedy the lack of a scene-by-scene commentary on the Marx Brothers’ greatest movie, the sublimely nonsensical Duck Soup.” (Washington Post)
“An essential read for Marx Brothers fans, those curious about the melding of war and humor in film, and browsers looking for a good read.” (Library Journal)
“Readers will enjoy the stories behind this iconic film and the careers of the Marx Brothers.” (Booklist)
“Roy Blount Jr. deconstructs the Marx Brothers’ magic.” (Los Angeles Times)
Blount at times uses the narrative to ambitiously give a window into the popular culture and the Marx family history and how it influenced what made it to the screen. Other times he uses it for an excuse for Marx and other anecdotes and to wax comically. If you stick too close to expectations you have for the book, it can get tedious or meandering at times. If you take it in the spirit of fun and love the author has for the material, it's a fun quick read that will make you want to revisit the movie (or watch if you've never seen it before).
This is a fairly light read (I read it in a few hours) and is not the definitive book I prayed for. It's worth reading nevertheless. The author goes through the plot of the movie while also discuss the brothers themselves, the context of the movie, and why this movie is rightly called one of the best war films every made. The book is fairly funny, both because of scenes from the movie quoted and the author's own import.
There are two fairly minor things that I have to mention. First, sometimes the author's attempts at humor falls flat. Second, because I already knew a lot about the Marxes some of the side stories lost my interest. At last one is not a problem if you know little or nothing about the brothers.
So in conclusion, WATCH DUCK SOUP, watch it again, and then get this book if you want to know more about this masterpiece of madness.