Duck Soup

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Duck Soup is a 1933 film about Rufus T. Firefly, who is named president/dictator of bankrupt Freedonia on the insistence of wealthy Mrs. Teasdale and declares war on neighboring Sylvania.

Directed by Leo McCarey and written by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby.

Rufus T. Firefly[edit]

  • I could dance with you till the cows come home. On second thought, I'd rather dance with the cows till you came home.
  • Clear? Huh! Why a four-year-old child could understand this report. Run out and find me a four-year-old child. I can't make head or tail out of it.
  • Don't look now, but there's one man too many in this room, and I think it's you.
  • [locked into a bathroom] Hey let me out! Let me out of here, or throw me a magazine!
  • I'll see my lawyer about this as soon as he graduates from law school.
  • Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot. But don't let that fool you. He really is an idiot.


Mrs. Teasdale: As chairwoman of the reception committee, I extend the good wishes of every man, woman and child of Freedonia.
Rufus T Firefly: Never mind that stuff, take a card. [Fans out a deck of playing cards]
Mrs. Teasdale: [Picks one from the fan] Card? What do I do with the card?
Firefly: You can keep it. I got fifty one left! Now, what were you saying?
Mrs. Teasdale: As chairwoman of the reception committee, I welcome you with open arms.
Firefly: Is that so? How late do you stay open?
Mrs. Teasdale: I've sponsored your appointment because I feel you are the most able statesman in all Freedonia.
Firefly: Well, that covers a lot of ground. Say, you cover a lot of ground yourself. You'd better beat it; I hear they're gonna tear you down and put up an office building where you're standing. You can leave in a taxi. If you can't get a taxi, you can leave in a huff. If that's too soon, you can leave in a minute and a huff. You know, you haven't stopped talking since I came here. You must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle.

Firefly: Not that I care, but where is your husband?
Mrs. Teasdale: Why, he's dead.
Firefly: I'll bet he's just using that as an excuse.
Mrs. Teasdale: I was with him to the very end.
Firefly: Hmmph. No wonder he passed away.
Mrs. Teasdale: I held him in my arms and kissed him.
Firefly: Oh, I see. Then, it was murder. Will you marry me? Did he leave you any money? Answer the second question first.
Mrs. Teasdale: He left me his entire fortune.
Firefly: Is that so? Can't you see what I'm trying to tell you? I love you! [jumps into her arms]
Mrs. Teasdale: Oh, your Excellency!
Firefly: You're not so bad yourself.

Mrs. Teasdale: The eyes of the world are upon you. Notables from every country are gathered here in your honor. This is a gala day for you.
Firefly: Well, a gal a day is enough for me. I don't think I could handle any more.

Trentino: Have you been trailing Firefly?
Chicolini: Have we been trailing Firefly? Why, my partner he's got a nose just like a bloodhound!
Trentino: Oh really?
Chicolini: Yes, and the rest of his face don't look so good either.

Firefly: And now members of the cabinet, we'll take up old business.
Cabinet Member: I wish to discuss the tariff.
Firefly: Sit down, that's new business. [pause] No old business? Very well, we'll take up new business.
Cabinet Member: Now about the tariff.
Firefly: Too late, that's old business already.

Another Cabinet Member: Gentlemen, gentlemen. Enough of this. How about taking up the tax?
Firefly: How about taking up the carpet?
Member: I still insist we take up the tax!
Firefly: [to his secretary] He's right—you've got to take up the tacks before you take up the carpet.
Member: I give all my time and energy to my duties, and what do I get?
Firefly: You get awfully tiresome after a while.
Member: Sir, you try my patience.
Firefly: I don't mind if I do. You must come over and try mine some time.
Member: That's the last straw: I resign. I wash my hands of the whole business.
Firefly: Good idea. You can wash your neck too.

Lemonade Stall Owner: I'll teach you to kick me!
Chicolini: You don't have to teach me—I know how! [kicks him]

Vera: Oh, for heaven's sake, don't make a sound. If you found, you lost.
Chicolini: Oh, you crazy. How can I be lost if I'm found?

Mrs. Teasdale: But I saw you with my own eyes!
Chicolini (in disguise as Rufus T. Firefly): Well, who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?

Prosecutor: Something must be done. War would meant a prohibitive increase in our taxes.
Chicolini: Hey, I've got an uncle that lives in Taxes.
Prosecutor: No, I'm talking about taxes. Money. Dollars.
Chicolini: Dollas! There's-a where my uncle lives! Dollas, Taxes!

Chicolini: I wouldn't go out there unless I had one of those big iron things that go up and down. What do you call those things?
Firefly: Tanks.
Chicolini: You're welcome.


Usage in Slang[edit]

  • A term for something easily accomplished, equivalent to "a piece of cake."

External links[edit]

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