Marion Faller (1941-2014), Duck Soup, from the series Neither Nor: A Primer, 1988; dot matrix print on paper, 3 1/4 inches (frame: 20 1/4 x 28 1/4 inches); Gift of Gary Nickard and Patty Wallace in Honor of Margaret Viola Nickard, 1989
Since its rediscovery in the 1960s, the 1933 film “Duck Soup” has been considered the best satirical film of the Marx Brothers, known as Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo. The economic depression was still impacting people’s lives when the film was first released. Some audiences misunderstood the sarcasm that was meant to lampoon fascism, dictators, and authoritarian government. One of the targets, Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini, recognized the criticism and banned the film in his country. Decades later, the American counterculture embraced “Duck Soup” as a reflection of their attitudes in opposing the war in Southeast Asia. In Western New York, special attention was paid to the name of the film’s fictional republic, “the Balkan state of Freedonia” by faculty and students of the State University of New York College at Fredonia.