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You're Telling Me! (1934)

Passed | | Comedy | 18 May 1934 (France)
A hard-drinking, socially-awkward inventor wrecks his daughter's chances of marriage into a rich family and bungles his own chances of success by selling one of his more practical inventions.



(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »

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Complete credited cast:
Sam Bisbee
Pauline Bisbee
Bob Murchison (as Larry 'Buster' Crabbe)
Princess Lescaboura
Louise Carter ...
Mrs. Bessie Bisbee
Kathleen Howard ...
Mrs. Murchison
Tammany Young ...
Dell Henderson ...
Mayor (as Del Henderson)
James B. 'Pop' Kenton ...
Doc Beebe
Robert McKenzie ...
Charlie Bogle (as Robert Mc Kenzie)
Mrs. Price
President of Tire Co.


Sam Bisbee is an inventor whose works (e.g., a keyhole finder for drunks) have brought him only poverty. His daughter is in love with the son of the town snob. Events conspire to ruin his bullet-proof tire just as success seems near. Another of his inventions prohibits him from committing suicide, so Sam decides to go on living.. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

18 May 1934 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Apesar dos Pesares  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. However, because of legal complications, this particular title was not included in the original television package and was not televised until many years afterward. See more »


Rosita is brushing Princess Lescaboura's nails and after Rosita says, "But you must.", the Princess' hands are under the table. See more »


Sam Bisbee: It's a funny ol' world... Man's lucky if he gets out of it alive.
See more »


References The Golf Specialist (1930) See more »


Sympathizin' With Me
Music by Arthur Johnston
Lyrics by Sam Coslow
See more »

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User Reviews

Vintage W.C. Fields
19 June 2002 | by (Salem, Oregon) – See all my reviews

As the film opens, it's late at night and we see an inebriated W.C. Fields slowly making his way up the walkway to his front door; as he moves along, he staggers off the path and has an encounter with a tree limb that raises havoc with his straw hat and knocks it off, which gives Fields-- the all-time master of physical comedy-- a field upon which to ply his craft to the fullest. He makes the simple task of refitting chapeau to pate engagingly hilarious. And once he makes it into the house (shoes in hand, of course, but too late!-- the little woman is waiting for him), it's more of the same, beginning with an encounter with some draperies, this time. It's classic Fields schtick, and what a great way to kick off one of his lesser known, but vibrantly funny films, `You're Telling Me,' directed by Erle C. Kenton.

Pauline Bisbee (Joan Marsh) and Bob Murchison (Buster Crabbe) are in love, and want to be married; but there's a snag: The Bisbee house is located on the `wrong' side of the tracks, and the union is meeting strong resistance from Bob's mother, Mrs. Edward Quimby Murchison (Kathleen Howard), who is ever discerning of the Murchison's place in society. And Pauline's father, Sam (Fields), is of little help. An inveterate dreamer, Sam is an inventor, and though he knows it's only a matter of time before the world beats a path to his door, his time, unfortunately, has not yet come, which leaves him in the quagmire of anonymity, and his family still on the wrong side of the tracks.

All of that is about to change, however, because Sam has at last invented something that will assure him fortune and fame: A 1000% puncture-proof automobile tire. He has an appointment in the city with a tire company, and once they see his demonstration, he knows his future will be made, Pauline will be able to marry Bob, and all will be well.

Alas, the demonstration goes awry, and the hapless Sam, dejected, disgraced and alone, boards a train for home. He thinks it's the end; but on the train, he befriends a beautiful young woman, unaware that she is a foreign dignitary, the Princess Lescaboura (Adrienne Ames), currently on a goodwill tour of America. And it turns out to be an auspicious encounter, as Sam's kindness to her is about to be repaid in a way that will change his life forever.

This film is vintage W.C. Fields, featuring all of the trademark elements that make him (and his films) so endearing and enduring, even today: The sight gags, presented in that unique Fields' way; Fields as the underdog; the innate cynicism Fields honed into a veritable art form; Fields as the hen-pecked husband (a role he played often, and perfected in `It's A Gift,' made this same year-- 1934-- with Kathleen Howard as his wife); the witty retorts; and, of course, the genuine humor. In one respect, however, this film differs from most of his others, in that, as Sam, Fields displays a gentler side of his usually caustic nature. The acerbity is present, to be sure, but toned down; and Sam, perhaps more than any character Fields ever created, is genuinely likable.

As Bob Murchison, Buster Crabbe's performance leaves something to be desired, but that charismatic spark that would make him a matinee idol later in the Sci-fi serials `Flash Gordon' and `Buck Rogers,' and later in numerous `Billy the Kid' and `Billy Carson' westerns, is evident, and most importantly, he does well enough to set the stage for the antics of the film's star.

In only her second film, Kathleen Howard is a delight in the role of Mrs. Murchison, who is something of a prototype for many who would come later in other films, such as Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn of Meredith Willson's `The Music Man.' As Bob's domineering mother, she affects an aloofness that strikes just the right chord and makes her the perfect foil for the down-to-earth Sam Bisbee.

The supporting cast includes Louise Carter (Bessie Bisbee), Tammany Young (Caddy), Dell Henderson (Mayor), James B. `Pop' Kenton (Doc Beebe), Robert McKenzie (Charlie Bogle), Nora Cecil (Mrs. Price), George Irving (Mr. Robins) and Frederick Sullivan (Mr. Edward Quimby Murchison). Comparatively short (at 66 minutes), `You're Telling Me' is nevertheless something of a minor classic and pure Fields from start to finish. Thoroughly enjoyable and highly entertaining, It even gives the inimitable W.C. a chance to perform a bit of his famous `golf' routine. A funny, and often downright hilarious film, it's a showcase for one of cinema's premiere funny men, and in the end, more than anything else, one thing is certain: It's going to make you laugh. And that's the magic of the movies. I rate this one 9/10.

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