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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 3,301 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)
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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:

 »
Edit

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

Jean Rouverol's name is misspelled as Jean Rouveral in the opening credits, but was correct in the end credits. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Dunk: What do you have in the way of steaks?
Harold: Nothing in the way of steaks, I can get right to them.
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 Psych: An Evening with Mr. Yang (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

California, Here I Come
(1924) (uncredited)
Music by Joseph Meyer
Played during opening and end credits, as well as on a record
See more »

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User Reviews

 
W.C. Fields' Best
19 February 2000 | by (Baltimore, Maryland) – See all my reviews

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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