W.C. Fields Comedy Collection
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What's it About
Universal releases five of Fields's best features, a fitting retrospective to one of film's most brilliant comic actors. In the zany "International House" (1933), Fields steals the show from a stellar ensemble cast as a host of characters converge in China to bid on the rights to an invention called television! "It's A Gift" (1934) features one Harold Bissonette (Fields), a humble grocer who dreams of owning orange groves in California. Unfortunately, one of his store's frequent customers is a blind man. In "You Can't Cheat An Honest Man," debt-ridden circus operator Larson E. Whipsnade is just one step ahead of the law, and worse, his daughter is being wooed by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. Likely the weakest entry, "My Little Chickadee" (1940) still offers the unlikely but fascinating pairing of Fields with ample siren Mae West. To provide cover and repair her reputation, Flowerbelle Lee (West) decides to marry Cuthbert J. Twillie (Fields), a seemingly befuddled rogue who is higher maintenance than she predicted. Finally, arguably the quintessential Fields movie, "The Bank Dick" (1940) introduces us to Egbert Souse, a hen-pecked tippler with a knack for turning bad judgment and calamity into good luck."
Why we love it
W.C. Fields, equal parts tragedy and triumph, was at once totally unique and an everyman. He used his finely honed comedic and physical talents (refined in earlier days as one of vaudeville's most skilled jugglers) to create a cranky, crafty, crooked ne'er-do-well you couldn't help but love. His lifelong struggle with alcoholism was fearlessly portrayed on-screen as well: in "Bank Dick," Egbert gleefully presides at a watering hole called "The Black Pussycat Café" (with stooge Shemp Howard as bartender no less)! Though "Gift" and "Bank Dick" are the best of the lot, there is much to admire in all five of these vehicles- to wit, the great man himself. For devotees of vintage comedy, this memorable box set is very much worth owning- and sharing.