Professor and Alumnus J. Hoberman '81 Publishes Book on 'Duck Soup'

BY Felix van Kann, November 5, 2021

Adjunct Film Professor and alumnus J. Hoberman '81 wrote Duck Soup (Bloomsbury, 2021) a new book on the Marx Brothers' famous movie of the same name. The monograph, which is part of the BFI Film Classics—a series of finely written, illustrated books that introduce, interpret and celebrate landmark films of world cinema—is now available to purchase.


The Marx Brothers are universally considered to be classic Hollywood's preeminent comedy team and Duck Soup is generally regarded as their quintessential film. A topical satire of dictatorship and government in general, the movie was a critical failure and box-office let-down on its initial release in 1933. J. Hoberman's study of the film traces its reputation history, from the initial disappointment of its release, to its rise to cult status in the 1960s when the Marx's anarchic, anti-establishment humor seemed again timely. 


A film critic at the Village Voice for over 30 years, J. Hoberman is the author, co-author, or editor of over a dozen books including Midnight Movies, Bridge of Light: Yiddish Film Between Two Worlds, and the “Found Illusions” trilogy (An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War, The Dream Life: Movies, Media and the Mythology of the Sixties, and Make My Day: Movie Culture in the Age of Reagan), completed last year. He has taught at New York University, The Cooper Union, and Harvard University as well as Columbia. He has served on the selection committee of the New York Film Festival and organized shows at the Museum of Modern Art, Museum of the Moving Image, Jewish Museum, and Whitney Museum; he publishes frequently in Artforum, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times and elsewhere.