Running Time: 69 Minutes | Genre: Comedy
Synopsis: A Double Bill of Dinner for One and Duck Soup.Duck Soup is justly considered one of the top film comedies of all time, filled to bursting with gags from one of the greatest comedic teams in history: the Marx Brothers. This anti-war, anti-nationalist satire (made soon after Hitler seized power in Germany) is an incredible showcase for a team that had meticulously honed their craft on the vaudeville circuit.Although the film’s plot is ostensibly about Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) waging war with a neighbouring country over a trifling matter, the unruly spirit of the Marx Brothers tramples over any attempt at narrative or logic. The film zigzags in a thousand preposterous directions, all in the absolute service of making you laugh. Director Leo McCarey later said of his experience making the film “The most surprising thing was that I succeeded in not going crazy, for I really did not want to work with them: they were completely mad.”This is a great entry point if you’ve yet to become a full Marxist, with some of Groucho’s most iconic one-liners (‘ I got a good mind to join a club and beat you over the head with it.’) and inspired physical comedy, especially the infamous ‘mirror scene’.Dinner for One
First UK public screening
Every New Year for almost 50 years Germans have been laughing hysterically at a short British slapstick film. Dinner for One is a magical comic sketch and its popularity has spread to Scandinavia, throughout Europe, South Africa and Australia, holding the Guinness World Record for the most repeated TV programme ever – but it’s never been screened publicly before in the UK until now.
The ageing Miss Sophie has invited the usual guests to her 90th birthday party; unfortunately they all died some time ago. Her butler James fills in for her late friends, which includes swigging their drinks. Viewers fall about with laughter at this single-take masterpiece of slapstick and comic timing featuring British comedians Freddie Frinton and May Warden. It’s impossible not to laugh at their antics!These events are made possible by Comedy Genius, a celebration of comedy on screen, led by BFI, the Independent Cinema Office and BFI Film Audience Network, supported by funds from the National Lottery.