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A surrealistic documentary portrait of the region of Las Hurdes, a remote region of Spain where civilisation has barely developed, showing how the local peasants try to survive without even the most basic utilities and skills.
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 <email@example.com>
If W.C. Fields is the funniest comedian in sound films, and perfectly hilarious in starring vehicles (Bank Dick) and guest shots (International House), why is this one is his best? Because Fields' antagonists are, for once, as grand as The Great Man himself. Aside from an evil blind man, and a cheerfully homicidal baby (ever reliable Baby Leroy), there is the ultimate Spouse from Hell. Former Vogue editor turned actress Kathleen Howard is pure outraged selfishness (Fields' mirror image) as the wife; her declamatory style of acting would be at home in a John Waters epic. She is divine, and so is the film.
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