Larson E. Whipsnade runs a seedy circus which is perpetually in debt. His performers give him nothing but trouble, especially Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. Meanwhile, Whipsnade's son ... See full summary »
Edward F. Cline
During World War II, all the studios put out "all-star" vehicles which featured virtually every star on the lot--often playing themselves--in musical numbers and comedy skits, and were ... See full summary »
A. Edward Sutherland,
Andre and Colette Bertier are happily married. When Colette introduces her husband to her flirtatious best friend, Mitzi, he does his best to resist her advances. But she is persistent, and... See full summary »
When David's father dies, his mother remarries. His new stepfather Murdstone has a mean and cruel view on how to raise a child. When David's mother dies from grief, Murdstone sends David to... See full summary »
Edna May Oliver
The Wiggs family plan to celebrate Thanksgiving in their rundown shack with leftover stew, without Mr. Wiggs who wandered off long ago an has never been heard from. Do-gooder Miss Lucy ... See full summary »
Child film star Jane Powell, fed up with her every move being stage managed by her stage mother, runs away and joins the U.S. Crop Corps, a small army of young folks staying at youth ... See full summary »
S. Sylvan Simon
The Great McGonigle's traveling theatrical troupe are staying at a boarding house. They are preparing to put on a production of "The Drunkard" (and do so during this movie). Cleopatra Pepperday puts up money for the show provided she can have a part ("Here comes the prince!"). Little Albert Wendelschaffer torments McGonigle all through lunch ("How can you hurt a watch by dipping it in molasses?"). In spite of being pursued by several sheriffs, McGonigle is able to keep going and see his daughter Betty happily married. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When McGonigle first sees Cleopatra, he says "Who's the old squigelum over there?" "Squigelum" is a Fields nonsense word. He would use it again in "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break" to describe the kissing game he teaches Ouliotta Hemogloben. See more »
THE OLD FASHIONED WAY (William Beaudine, 1934) ***
Quintessential W.C. Fields comedy (again, billed as Charles Bogle, he provided the story himself) boasting a pleasant period setting and a plot that revolves around a troupe of traveling players led by The Great McGonigle. The star is given yet another memorable introduction - being signaled by his daughter of the presence of the law, representing their creditors, on his way to the train which is to take them to the next town; here, again, we have a daughter who is willing to forgive her rascally father his every whim and foible.
The film, as such, relies more on atmosphere than the typical Fields 'sketches' and this, perhaps, lends it a charm - and a freshness - that it wouldn't otherwise possess. Among its many notable scenes are: Fields thinking the military reception waiting at the train station is for his troupe's benefit; the dinner sequence with a rampaging, famished troupe and Fields' hilarious encounter with Baby LeRoy (who throws food at him and drops his watch into a jar of molasses) - Fields manages to get even with the child by kicking him when no one's watching!; the rich old lady's cringe-inducing singing audition, with the star reacting accordingly (he's hoping to secure her financial backing for the play the troupe will be presenting in town by promising her a role in it - this is eventually whittled down to a single line, which she's never even called upon to deliver!); Fields falling off the stage during rehearsals, etc.
"The Drunkard" set-piece occupies a good deal of the second half: a hoary melodrama which the troupe performs with gusto - with Fields as the mustachioed and hissable villain of the piece who, at one point, reprises the immortal line from his short THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933) "'T ain't a fit night out for man nor beast". With the closing of each act, the curtain comes crashing down making a loud thumping sound; still, the film is clearly intended as a valentine to the days of vaudeville - and even includes a wonderful juggling routine towards the end that showcases Fields' amazing dexterity (in spite of his advancing age, corpulent physique and propensity for booze).
The final sequence finds The Great McGonigle keeping busy as a medicine showman - having left his daughter behind, so as not to interfere with her happiness alongside a stage-struck boy emanating from a respectable family. Typically, for comedies from this era, romance and songs have been incorporated into the narrative as much as a device by which to counterbalance the star's antics as for purely commercial reasons (since these films were largely intended for family consumption).
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