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It's a Gift (1934)

Passed  -  Comedy  -  30 November 1934 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,320 users  
Reviews: 56 user | 21 critic

A henpecked New Jersey grocer makes plans to move to California to grow oranges, despite the resistance of his overbearing wife.

Director:

(as Norman McLeod)

Writers:

(screen play), (from "The Comic Supplement" by), 9 more credits »
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Title: It's a Gift (1934)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Harold Bissonette
Kathleen Howard ...
Amelia Bissonette
Jean Rouverol ...
Mildred Bissonette
Julian Madison ...
John Durston
Tommy Bupp ...
Norman Bissonette (as Tom Bupp)
Baby LeRoy ...
Baby Dunk
Tammany Young ...
Everett Ricks
Morgan Wallace ...
James Fitchmueller
Charles Sellon ...
Mr. Muckle
Josephine Whittell ...
Mrs. Dunk
T. Roy Barnes ...
Insurance Salesman
Diana Lewis ...
Miss Dunk
Spencer Charters ...
Gate Guard
Guy Usher ...
Harry Payne Bosterly
Dell Henderson ...
Mr. Abernathy (as Del Henderson)
Edit

Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

California or Bust! And what they don't burn, they practically wreck...just as they will wreck you with laughter in this coast-to-coast joy-ride! See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 November 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Che bel regalo  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

When Harold is sitting on the back porch at the dilapidated orange ranch., the amount and angle of the sunlight varies from scene to scene. See more »

Quotes

Amelia: Seems pretty strange someone would call you from a maternity hospital in the middle of the night.
Harold: They didn't call me from a maternity hospital. They called thinking this was the maternity hospital.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Crossing Jordan: For Harry, with Love & Squalor (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away
(1897) (uncredited)
Written by Paul Dresser
Performed by Chill Wills and The Avalon Boys
See more »

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User Reviews

 
W.C. Fields Best Comedy
16 June 2000 | by (Baltimore, Maryland) – See all my reviews

IT'S A GIFT is generally cited as W.C. Fields' best comedy. For me, it is a nonstop funfest. Unlike some comedies which think they need to have love interest to be popular, Fields makes us laught at him for 73 minutes non-stop. A true genius. This work is not typical of its time, however. In a time when most film comedies were either witty romantic, Lubitsch-esque films, or wild madcap Marx Bros.-style films, IT'S A GIFT stands alone as a piece of physical sight-gag humor. However, there are no impossible sight-gags, little actual slapstick, but enough laughs for five films. This goes on par with DUCK SOUP, TROUBLE IN PARADISE, MODERN TIMES, and A NIGHT AT THE OPERA as one of the finest comedy films of all time.

Interestingly enough, IT'S A GIFT was recently voted to be one of the top 100 funniest films ever made by the American Film Institute. However, a film like this doesn't need any awards to prove its greatness. Regardless of the critics, IT'S A GIFT will surely remain a genuine masterpiece of cinema and of W.C. Fields in particular.


17 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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