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
Fields wants to sell a film story to Esoteric Studios. On the way he gets insulted by little boys, beat up for ogling a woman, and abused by a waitress. He becomes his niece's guardian when... See full summary »
Rightly suspected of illicit relations with the Masked Bandit, Flower Belle Lee is run out of Little Bend. On the train she meets con man Cuthbert J. Twillie and pretends to marry him for "... See full summary »
Tillie and Augustus Winterbottom are thought to be missionaries when they arrive to find Phineas Pratt trying cheat the Sheridans out of her father's inheritance, including a ferry ... See full summary »
The Whinneys share expenses for their trip to Hollywood with George and Gracie and thier great Dane. A clerk in Whinney's bank has put fifty thousand dollars in a suitcase, hoping to rob Whinney on the road, but instead Whinney takes another road and is himself arrested in Nevada. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
In "Six of a Kind" Fields refers to a woman named McGonigle. He would later take that name for his character in "The Old-Fashioned Way" later the same year. The actor had also used the names McGargle in "Sally of the Sawdust" in 1925 and its 1937, remake "Poppy." See more »
George Burns' character Name is shown onscreen as "George Edward", but "Edwards" is consistently spoken as his surname. See more »
The gimmick, as it were, of this 1934 Paramount comedy is the six comedy performers, paired off into three man-and-woman teams, who all appear together. W. C. Fields and his frequent screen partner Alsion Skipworth appear in the second half of the film and shine in their roles as a small-town sheriff and innkeeper. Fields seems to have been given the latitude to inject plenty of his own one-of-a-kind brand of misanthropic, surreal comedy into his part, and it works wonderfully, especially where he is allowed to do his famous pool table routine, a digression that is totally welcome since it is hilarious.
At first thought it might have seemed like a mismatch to conceive of a film to be carried by the subtle domestic comedy of Charlie Ruggles and Mary Boland next to the broad, jokey Vaudeville patter of the great husband-and-wife comedy team of George Burns and Gracie Allen, but here it works perfectly because of the parts George and Gracie are given in the script. They are there are freeloaders hitching a ride to California on Ruggles' and Boland's honeymoon trip and consistently find ways to annoy them at every step, including, brilliantly, while they are each holding on to the side of a cliff for dear life.
Making Burns and Allen comic annoyances to two sympathetic characters turns out to be a perfect way to fit their far-out, larger-than-life comedy characters into a real world setting -- the comedy of people reacting to them in a believable way turns out to be as much as a gold-mine as Gracie's famous naive delivery itself.
Charlie Ruggles deserves special mention for his performance as the fussy banker "Pinky" Whinney. He's marvelously subtle and underplayed, and draws laughs from lines that in another actor's hands might not even have been heard.
The script is wonderfully witty all through, and most of the way it's a perfectly extended comedy of frustration in which our sympathies are with the poor Whinneys who can't get a moment alone, and the extra bonus is that what frustrates them is just more first-rate comedy material from Burns and Allen.
For the pre-code watchers out there, there is some rather suggestive material in some of the most amusing scenes, as Whinney tries to get across to George just WHY he and his wife want to be alone for a while.
There are a few signs of a rushed production here -- the occasional jump cut, one of the most obvious drop sets you will ever see in a movie (right up there with W. C. Field's own short "The Golf Specialist"), and the knot in Field's tie is constantly changing in shape. These don't bother me, though, and they shouldn't bother anybody who is enjoying the film.
"Six of a Kind" is a real little-known gem and one of the funniest movies I've seen in a while. If you're thinking about whether to watch it, the answer should be yes.
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