Larson E. Whipsnade runs a seedy circus which is perpetually in debt. His performers give him nothing but trouble, especially Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. Meanwhile, Whipsnade's son ... See full summary »
Edward F. Cline
The owner of a general store (Harold Bisonette) is hounded by his status-anxious wife ("That's 'Bee-soh-nay'" and "I have no maid you know"). To get some sleep he goes out on the porch where he is tormented by a little boy from the floor above (Baby Dunk) and an insurance salesman down below ("LaFong. Capital L, small a..."). He uses an inheritance to buy an orange ranch through the mail, then drives off with his family for California. The orange grove consists of a withered tree, the ranch house is but a shack, and the car falls to pieces. But a racetrack operator wants the land, so all ends happily. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
IT'S A GIFT is probably W.C. Fields' best motion picture. BANK DICK certainly comes close, but IT'S A GIFT contains little actual slapstick, no impossible sight gags, and a completely realistic story line. Because of its sheer simplicity and ultimate hilarity, it must rank as one of the Top 5 comedies from any country. Fields is not what we would classify as a Chaplin-esque comedian. He was there to make people laugh, not think. But with IT'S A GIFT he presents a story which would've been worthy of Chaplin, Keaton, or any of the foreign masters like Jacques Tati. The story has Fields as a henpecked husband who wants nothing more than to buy an Orange Grove in California. The first half of the film details Fields attempts to run his local grocery store business and to try and maintain his sanity around his household, from which he is far the master. Then, he gets his wish when he is able to buy the orange ranch with some inheritance money. In true Fieldsian tradition, there turns out to be some problems with the ranch, but that doesn't stop him. The ending turns out to be Fields' most satisfying finale to any of his pictures. IT'S A GIFT (which was ironically panned in its day!) must surely rank as one of the top 5 comedies of any time, of any country, thus establishing W.C. Fields as one of the top comedians of any time, any where.
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