Thursday, May 20, 2010

Grasshoppers: The Duck Soup That Almost Was

Katie is home early again today after a grueling two-plus hour trip to the dentist. While convalescing, she's been reading The Marx Brothers Encyclopedia by Glenn Mitchell, which I checked out from the library the other day.

Here's an interesting bit about an early draft of the Marx Brothers' movie, Duck Soup, which in June 1933 sported the temporary title Grasshoppers. According to Mitchell, in the original ending, Chico was to assassinate arch rival Trentino (Louis Calhern) with a bomb, but instead winds up blowing up himself and his brothers as well. The five of them fly off to heaven—Harpo plucking a harp, naturally—and as Trentino opines, "Well, where we're going, there'll be peace and happiness," Harpo begins to clip his wings.

"Think of all the trouble we had down below," Trentino continues, "just because I called you an upstart." At which point Groucho slaps Trentino and the pair begins fighting once again.

The idea was quickly jettisoned. But the Three Stooges must have liked it—they basically recycled the idea for the end of their 1939 short Three Little Sew and Sews.

[Click here for a fuller discussion of Duck Soup's screenplay.]

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