Groucho Marx: “Duck Soup” (1933)

From the 1933 Marx Brothers movie “Duck Soup“. Groucho Marx works himself up a temper and slaps the ambassador from Sylvania, causing a war.

You can find this monologue and hundreds of others on Colin’s Movie Monologue page.

Mrs Teasdale (Margaret Dumont): Your Excellency!

President Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx): What’s on your mind, babe?

Mrs Teasdale: In [on] behalf of the women of Freedonia, I’ve taken it upon myself to make one final effort to prevent war.

Firefly: No kidding!

Mrs Teasdale: I’ve talked to Ambassador Trentino and he says Sylvania doesn’t want war either.

Firefly: Either.

Mrs Teasdale: Doesn’t want war either.

Firefly: Either.

Mrs Teasdale: Hmmmph!

Firefly: Skip it.

Mrs Teasdale: I’ve taken the liberty of asking the Ambassador to come over here because we both felt that a friendly conference would settle everything peacefully. He’ll be here any moment.

Firefly: Mrs Teasdale, you did a noble deed.

I’d be unworthy of the high trust that’s been placed in me if I didn’t do everything within my power to keep our beloved Freedonia in peace with the world.

I’d be only too happy to meet with Ambassador Trentino, and offer him on behalf of my country the right hand of good fellowship. And I feel sure he will accept this gesture in the spirit of which it is offered.

But suppose he doesn’t. A fine thing that’ll be. I hold out my hand and he refuses to accept it. That’ll add a lot to my prestige, won’t it? Me, the head of a country, snubbed by a foreign ambassador. Who does he think he is, that he can come here, and make a sap out of me in front of all my people?

Think of it – I hold out my hand and that hyena refuses to accept it. Why, the cheap ball-pushing swine, he’ll never get away with it I tell you, he’ll never get away with it!

[Trentino (Louis Calhern) enters]

Firefly: So, you refuse to shake hands with me, eh?

[Firefly slaps Trentino with his glove for the second time in two days and the war begins]

Trentino: Mrs Teasdale, this is the last straw. There’s no turning back now! This means war!