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S. Sylvan Simon
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 »
When Harold tries to sleep on the porch swing, the chain breaks. In one shot, before he rehangs the swing, the chain is visible and swing is level. See more »
Why were you sitting there like a stone image when those men were insulting me?
I was just waiting for one of 'em to say something to me.
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 »
In "It's A Gift", W.C. Fields delivers enjoyable silliness as only he could do it. It's quite a showcase for his brand of humor, and this movie has it all, from sight gags to dry wit to hilarious predicaments to a put-upon hero. There have been few comedians like Fields who could get so much mileage out of simple ideas, or who could make outrageous ideas work so well.
The plot ostensibly concerns store owner Harold Bissonette (Fields), who dreams of owning an orange ranch in California, but very little actually happens in terms of a story - the emphasis is on the trials of daily life that Harold must endure. The movie is a series of comic set pieces in which Fields takes a simple situation and turns it into a stream of gags and laughs. His ability to find endless sources of humor in the most mundane of settings is an impressive contrast with the labored and often inappropriate efforts of so many of today's comic actors.
In this one, Fields also manages to create a pleasant atmosphere that, despite all the disorder in Harold's life, makes you feel at home with the characters. Many of the scenes also give one of the other cast members a chance for some good moments, and Kathleen Howard helps out a lot, too, as Harold's nagging wife. There's nothing to take seriously here, but if you're in the mood not to take anything seriously, this is a very enjoyable way to spend an hour or so.
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