Tillie and Augustus Winterbottom are thought to be missionaries when they arrive to find Phineas Pratt trying cheat the Sheridans out of her father's inheritance, including a ferry ...
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Tillie and Augustus Winterbottom are thought to be missionaries when they arrive to find Phineas Pratt trying cheat the Sheridans out of her father's inheritance, including a ferry franchise and a boat. The only way to keep the franchise is to win a race against Pratt's boat. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Before the steamboat race, one of the boats used in the filming began to sink. The crew frantically tried to bail, but water was coming in as fast as they could bail it out. The fire department was called, and set their pumps to work until 1 AM, to no avail; the water was still rushing in. Director Francis Martin called the man who built the boat, who stated that it could not spring a leak. Martin ordered the man to come down to the set and see for himself. Seeing the boat list to one side, the builder repeated that it could not spring a leak. The following conversation is reported to have taken place, at that point: Francis Martin: "All I know is we've been pumping water out of her hold for nine hours and it comes in as fast as we pump it out." Builder: "She ain't got a hold." Francis Martin: "I don't care what the technical term is, all I know is we've been pumping water out of her interior for nine hours." Builder: "She ain't got an interior any more than a raft. She's flat on the bottom, sitting on drums. You've got all that heavy stuff on one side and that's what makes it lean over. You've been bailing Malibu Lake into Malibu Lake for nine hours." See more »
One of Fields' "sleepers", Tillie and Gus is a great curiosity.
"Tillie And Gus" is a "Sleeper" for W.C. Fields. It is not one of his movies that he is best remembered for, but it has several components that make it a great curiosity. First of all, Fields is teamed up again with Alison Skipworth, the craggy character actress, who in her earlier stage career in England was known to be a great beauty. She is also as far as I'm concerned, Fields' greatest female co-star. She interacts with him well as she did in "If I Had A Million" and "Six of A Kind". The two are formerly man and wife in this saga, working as "missionaries" on different locations who are found out for their flim-flam ways and sent packing back home where they are summoned to the dockside of a niece, her husband and infant son (Baby Leroy), who are being swindled out of their inheritance by shyster lawyer Phineas Pratt. The niece owns a run-down riverboat, threatened to be put in mothballs by a newer boat. A race is run to determine which boat has superiority over the other, and who keeps the river franchise. Fields' and Skipworth's goals is to help win the race, receive the money to thwart Pratt, and to kick the bum out! Memorable scenes include The "Missionaries" working together to refix a poker game on the train to their benefit, and Fields' memorable line to the question "You like children?". "Only if they are properly cooked", he says. This film is seldom seen on television and never seen as a video. The rights to this and many other Fields' films are buried in the vaults of Universal Pictures. It should be released for all of us to see again.
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