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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The final scene, on Bissonette's "orange ranch", was filmed at the house and property W.C. Fields was living in at the time of the filming. For his entire life, Fields rented living quarters, adamantly refusing to buy a house or land. See more »
Jean Rouverol's name is misspelled as Jean Rouveral in the opening credits, but was correct in the end credits. See more »
What do you have in the way of steaks?
Nothing in the way of steaks, I can get right to them.
See more »
The confrontation between W.C. Fields and Baby LeRoy was such a popular success that for this rematch the title card includes "with Baby LeRoy" as if the infant had second billing. See more »
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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