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Hail, Hail, Euphoria!: Presenting the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, the Greatest War Movie Ever Made

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  255 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
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 Nigh ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 28th 2010 by It Books
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Will Byrnes
Blount begins his tale with a visit to the Thalia, an upper-west-side Manhattan theater where Duck Soup was being shown in a matinee. Kids were in the audience, young ones, 6, 7 years old. Their reaction was to be amazed. My personal experience with kids and the Marx Brothers was not so fortunate. I used to torture my progeny with Friday Family Movie Night. I forced them to endure a long list of classic cinema, even in black and white! Somehow no one reported me for child abuse. The Marx Brother ...more
David Schaafsma
Jul 21, 2015 David Schaafsma rated it it was ok
Shelves: film
Duck Soup is one of my favorite movies ever and regularly makes the top hundred films of all time and the top ten of film comedies of all time. Often it is THE TOP funny film of all time. And Roy Blount is one of our funniest commentators. I like him on NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me." He's funny. And he is obsessed with the Marx Bros and and this film. So this short book has a weird premise: Blount will have the movie on one part of the screen of his computer while he comments on it on anothe ...more
Oct 19, 2010 Raquel rated it it was amazing
recently read a review that claimed this book was a scene-by-scene look at the classic Marx Bros. movie Duck Soup (1933). First of all, that reviewer must have jumped to that conclusion and written the review before reading the actual book because his statement couldn't be further from the truth. Hail, Hail, Euphoria! is more than just a book about a movie. It's also about the lives of the Marx Bros., Leo McCarey (the director of the movie), the cultural and historical circumstances that allowe ...more
John Capecci
Oct 10, 2010 John Capecci rated it it was ok
“So that you don’t have to, I have watched this scene some twenty or thirty times, and in slow motion, and frame by frame. A lot of things happen, and here they are for the record:”

That’s a funny premise. Instead of saving it for half-way through “Hail, Hail, Euphoria!”, however, Roy Blount, Jr. might have warned us at the beginning that this was actually the premise of the book. And it’s not a joke. Not only does Blount go frame-by-frame, he pauses the DVD of “Duck Soup” he is apparently watch
Feb 23, 2012 Stewart rated it it was amazing
It is a double treat to read a book about one of the funniest movies ever made, the Marx Brothers’ 1933 film "Duck Soup," and then discover that the book itself is quite funny.
"Hail, Hail Euphoria!: Presenting the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, the Greatest War Movie Ever Made" by Roy Blount Jr. takes a close look at the movie, released a few months after Franklin Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler took power, and provides background on the actors (principally the four Marx Brothers – this was the last
Feb 02, 2016 Clay rated it it was ok
Kinda disappointing. The book is one long essay on the movie "Duck Soup," but it is packed with other tidbits of Marx Brothers history. Some of it relates to the scene being described and the rest seems vaguely connected to the current discussion. Along the way Blount diverges into such topics as racism within the Brother's films, other co-stars of other Marx Brothers movies, other silent and early Hollywood films and stars, what happened to each of the five brothers before and after this pictur ...more
[Name Redacted]
A wild, weird look into the history of the Marx Brothers (and more especially the making and impact of "Duck Soup" ((and even more especially into the thoughts and feelings of Roy Blount Jr. on the same)) ) written almost as a stream of consciousness exploration. Dangerous to start reading before bedtime, because now I don't want to stop!
Jan 23, 2016 Bill rated it liked it
I read and enjoyed this in the way that a fan often enjoys pieces about the objects of his obsessions more than clearly sane people would enjoy them.

Recommended for the Marx Brothers fan who keeps a copy of Why a Duck on his bathroom shelf.
Allen Crosby
Aug 23, 2013 Allen Crosby rated it did not like it
Just...bad. I'd give this a skip.
Apr 02, 2012 Bruce rated it liked it
Recommends it for: drama majors, desperate fans of Duck Soup with nothing else to read to entertain them
If you can’t finish Hail, Hail, Euphoria! in a single trip to the bathroom then you never really had to go in the first place. This is Roy Blount, Jr.’s companion to his favorite flick, an Asimovian “Guide” to 68 minutes of movie mayhem, and like its subject, breezy, well-researched, anecdotal, and (unlike Asimov’s “Guides”) incredibly short. Blount claims here to be sitting at his computer, forwarding the DVD a frame at a time while typing out his manuscript. He acts as sort of an MST3K for the ...more
Balloon Bruce
Jul 08, 2017 Balloon Bruce rated it did not like it
Love the Marx Brothers, couldn't get through this.
Nov 13, 2010 Rick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Never mind that title is almost as long as the book. Or that Mr. Blount, an erudite yet folksy storyteller and humorist, indulges in a few too many wannabe Chico puns. Or that he tells the faithful (and this is a book designed for the faithful) what they already know (Chico is pronounced Chicko; the face Harpo makes once a movie is called a Gookie and was based on neighborhood cigar roller when the brothers were kids on New York’s East Side, etc.). Or that there are a lot of digressions (what’s ...more
Jeanne Jackson
There is a certain snobbishness about being a fan of the Marx Brothers that usually makes reading anything written about them the exact opposite of the goal of their life's work. I'd like to think the Marxes would find most of what has been written about them as just plain silly.

In Hail, Hail, Euphoria we sit down with no less than Roy Blount Jr. and watch the classic, and arguably the best, Marx movie, Duck Soup.

Blount breaks down the scenes for us, starting at the very beginning with the "NRA"
Mar 27, 2011 Travis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roy Blount jr. loves language, humor and the Marx Brothers and in this book, tells us a bit about all three.
He's smart enough to know that you can't really analyze the Marx Brothers too much, so only makes a token effort at that and just celebrates them instead.

He talks us through 'Duck Soup', ( called their 'best' movie, but aside from 'Love Happy' there are no bad Marx Brothers movies and even their lesser films are better then 90% of the comedies out there) along the way, going on numerous t
Barry Davis
Feb 16, 2016 Barry Davis rated it it was amazing
Subtitled Presenting the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, the Greatest War Movie Ever Made. A loving and quite comprehensive tribute to one of the Marx brothers’ (all four are here - Groucho as Rufus T. Firefly, Harpo as Pinky, Chico as Chicolini and Zeppo as Lt. Bob Roland) best movies, and that is saying something! Blount not only steps through the entire movie (sometimes frame by frame), he also provides insights to the original script, as well as related works by the brothers and others (includin ...more
Sep 08, 2010 Spiros rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Marxists
Going through my locker at work before my week's vacation, I reflected on the quality of books that my co-workers believe will pique my interest. Among volumes of sudoku, and baseball books, I found a book on WITHNAIL & I, and this slim volume; both books are basically frivolous, and both have to do with two of my all-time favorite movies, movies which are constantly with me, so to speak. Et voila! A couple of books to read on vacation.
I had never read any of Roy Blount's writing before, and
Apr 12, 2012 Hamish rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
My parents gave me this book for Christmas. In the interests of laziness, here is the email I sent them about it:

"hi guys,

glad to hear you've arrived and everything is going well. say hi to imy for me.

i finished reading the duck soup book (hail, hail euphoria) and it was interesting. fact: i had no idea the marx brothers were actually brothers! the writing was (i think intentionally) a bit all over the place; the writer is giving a running commentary on the film and going off on various tangents
Dave Schwensen
Jul 15, 2013 Dave Schwensen rated it really liked it
I've been a long time fan of Groucho, Harpo, Chico and yes - even Zeppo. I've read many bios and insider reports, so I really appreciate the author's different outlook in this book. It's a moment-by-moment review of the classic film "Duck Soup," and also includes insider scoop about the brothers that relate to what's happening on the screen. Some of the personal Marx info most of us already know - but there was enough I didn't know about to keep me entertained throughout. Plus this book is a gre ...more
Jan 22, 2016 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-goal
While Roy Blount Jr.'s book is a interesting running commentary of the Marx brothers classic Duck Soup, this isn't you typical film criticism. There are no chapters and few logical breaks. Blount may break down a scene, but stop in the middle to share an anecdote about Groucho, Chico, Harpo or anyone else in the cast or crew. He even has little imaginary asides with Groucho and Chico. The writing is very stream of consciousness...but who cares? Considering the anarchistic nature of the Marx brot ...more
John Ferrigno
Feb 26, 2016 John Ferrigno rated it it was ok
I was pretty disappointed in this book. Some of it was very intetesting, but a lot of it was just recapping the plot. There was also, for reasons I can't understand, a lot of explaining the French subtitles of the movie. I wish there was more analysis of the comedy and behind the scenes anectdotes, because the little of that there was, was very good. I just found there wasn't enough to justify making this an entire book. It felt padded and stretched out. Instead, it could have just been a very g ...more
Jul 13, 2012 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Swordfish!!! An absolutely wonderful book about the funniest people ever, written by a very funny man. It's an inspired idea to go through the movie scene by scene and talk about the political and cultural scene at the time, the people who made the film and how they came into the orbit of the Brothers, and wonderful stories about everything from Groucho's dirty jokes to Gummo's visit to the Algonquin Round Table, playing the word game with Dorothy Parker and friends (you know, make up a witty se ...more
Jul 02, 2011 Epepple rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A slight, but enjoyable read for fans of the Marx Brothers and Duck Soup. Blount's writing is breezy and enjoyable and his unabashed love for this greatest of Marx comedies bleeds off the page. His assessment of the differences and splits between Irish and Jewish comedians is fascinating, and the kind of thing that likely deserves its own book.

While he offers up digressions and detours on nearly every page (likely knowing that there isn't a ton new to say about the Marxes) it nonetheless is alw
Dec 16, 2010 Dennis rated it liked it
"Hail, Hail" is bascially a frame-by-frame discussion of the film so it definitely helps having a copy of "Duck Soup" handy as you follow along. The movie alone is crazy and chaotic (and immensely funny!) but if you add Roy Blount, Jr.'s analysis, which is all over the place, along with some French subtitles (trying to figure out what the Marx Brothers are saying in English is one thing; translating it into French is nearly impossible...and sometimes humorous), it makes for a confusing and disjo ...more
Dec 27, 2010 Tony rated it liked it
Shelves: essays
Blount, Roy, Jr. HAIL, HAIL, EUPHORIA! PRESENTING THE MARX BROTHERS IN DUCK SOUP – THE GREATEST WAR MOVIE EVER MADE. (2010). ***. This book is so unlike most of Blount’s other works that you wonder where it came from. He is obviously a fan of the Marx Brothers – as most of us are – and a particular fan of their film, “Duck Soup.” In this very long essay (144pp.) he takes us through the movie almost frame by frame, explaining all the puns and providing some background for each as it was being fil ...more
Marx Brothers fans seem mostly divided in opinion regarding which was their best film: There's a Duck Soup camp and a Night at the Opera faction. I'm solidly aligned with the Duck Soup crowd, so when I learned of this book, it moved to the top of my to-read list.

So how is it? Well, it's not as good as the movie, but how can it be? It's fun and informative, and is presented in a conversational tone. I've read a lot of books about the Marxes, but very few of them focus much on any of the individua
Feb 11, 2011 Barbara rated it liked it
Shelves: show-biz
Being a die-hard Marx brothers fan, I read this rambling treatise all the way to the end, and was glad I did because it turns out that the title has significance and this is not revealed until the last sentence. Along the way, Roy Blount, Jr., a noted comedian himself, digresses down every available rabbit hole. Interesting, but sometimes I wanted to say “Enough already!” No chapters to help organize the informational flow. Maybe it was written in the spirit of the Marx brothers, who apparently ...more
Dec 03, 2011 Travis rated it liked it
Shelves: politics, history
Odd, quirky, funny little book, written with a nice, conversational style and only the barest hint of structure by the odd, quirky and funny Roy Blount jr.

As he tells us the story of brilliant Marx Brothers movie 'Duck Soup', he makes endless side trips to tell us about the making of the movie and numerous bits of Marxist history and lore.

Featherlight, amusing and possibly only of interest to diehard Marx brothers fans.
I'm really not an unbiased reviewer as I will read anything about the Marxes
Aug 14, 2015 Jordan rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
The best way I can describe this book is it's about some of the funniest people ever, written by a man who seems to think he's just as funny. In other words, the parts of the book I laughed at were the recaps of the Marx Brothers' hilarious routines in the film Duck Soup. I never laughed at anything Blount said. The behind-the-scenes details could have been neat, but Blount seems to believe we want the dirt on the brothers and rarely provides much that is really of interest. Read Harpo Speaks in ...more
Joe Cummings
Jun 15, 2016 Joe Cummings rated it liked it
For fans of the movie Duck Soup and the Marx Brothers, Hail, Hail, Euphoria: Presenting the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, the Greatest War Movie Ever Made the 2010 book by Roy Blount Jr is a must read. The Southern humorist provides a commentary to movie that can be enjoyed while actually watching the movie. It's a behind the scenes look at the four brothers and the comedy classic movie that they made in 1933. The book provides real insights into the period between the Great Depression and the S ...more
Becky Johnston
Apr 23, 2014 Becky Johnston rated it liked it
Only useful is you're already a fan of the Marx Brothers and "Duck Soup" itself; however, if you're are, it's a fun read through of all your favorite moments from the film, backstage drama, sketches of the personality of each brother. I wish it was a bit deeper instead of just going on small tangents about every scene and each brother, often repeating itself....

But, if you're a big fan, like I am, than you won't mind the tangents and the detours so much. The book will become a familiar visit wi
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Roy Blount Jr. is the author of twenty-three books. The first, About Three Bricks Shy of a Load, was expanded into About Three Bricks Shy . . . and the Load Filled Up. It is often called one of the best sports books of all time. His subsequent works have taken on a range of subjects, from Duck Soup, to Robert E. Lee, to what cats are thinking, to how to savor New Orleans, to what it’s like being m ...more
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“According to that book, only one Marx contributed an unforgotten pun to the Round Tablers’ vaunted word games. It wasn’t Groucho, who must have been furious. Nor was it Harpo, who for all we know sat at the table naked. Nor was it Chico, who had more dangerous games elsewhere. It was Gummo. Evidently Gummo had a seat at that table at least once, and he made it count. Everybody knows that Dorothy Parker, challenged to make a sentence with the word horticulture, quipped as follows: “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.” But who knew that Gummo, taking on euphoria, came up with this: LEFT TO RIGHT: Harpo, Zeppo, Chico, Groucho, and Gummo, 1957. “Go outside and play,” Minnie told the brothers. “Which ones?” they asked. And she said: “Euphoria.”*” 0 likes
“Hitler had been in power for six months. Duck Soup, said Harpo, was his most difficult movie, and the only one in which he worried about his performance. Not because of the director or the script. “The trouble was Adolph Hitler.” American radio was broadcasting Hitler’s speeches, and “twice we suspended shooting to listen to him scream.” 0 likes
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