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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>
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 »
The shaving cream on Harold's face changes when he tries to use the can as a mirror. See more »
As was my habit as a teenager, I often would stay up late at night watching old movies (which were just about the only things broadcast after midnight back then). One night, I turned on the tube and a W. C. Fields movie had just started. It wasn't long before I found myself laughing. My father, for some reason unable to sleep, got up to join me. Soon he was laughing out loud too, and he wasn't one who laughed at just anything. When the scene came in which Fields tries to take a little nap alfresco--both of us began laughing uncontrollably. If someone could have seen us through a sound proof window, I'm sure they would have thought we were having seizures. NO scene in ANY of the great comedies exceeds this one in hilarity, and few even approach it. Not the seduction/dance scene in "Some Like It Hot," not the hitchhiking, not the "piggy-back" scenes from "It Happened One Night," not the "water-in-the-face" scene in "City Lights"--no scene from "Tootsie," no scene from "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek," not any of the zany scenes from "The Court Jester," or "A Night At The Opera"--none of these beat Fields' pitiful attempt at catching a little shut-eye. And this is just one sequence in a film filled with wet-your-pants laughing.
W. C. Fields was one of the screen's greatest comedians. His bumbling, surly, dipsomaniac is a creation right up there with Chaplin's Little Tramp. As a gift from the gods of comedy, Fields was given an APPEARANCE of a bungler, but he was, in fact, physically adroit to a level most athletes could only dream of. Thus, he could get away with doing things SO bungling--like accidentally putting his hat on his walking stick (resting on his shoulder) instead of his head, and then not be able to find it, or trying to walk out the wrong side of the door--that if someone else tried them, they'd only look ridiculous. Fields makes you think these things could actually, comically, happen. He was truly a comedic genius.
One of cinema's greatest comedians, in one of cinema's funniest films: Do yourself a favor--wear a diaper and SEE THIS MOVIE!
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