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Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935)

Passed | | Comedy | 3 August 1935 (USA)
Hard-working, henpecked Ambrose Wolfinger takes off from work to go to a wrestling match with catastrophic consequences.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

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

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Kathleen Howard ...
Leona Wolfinger
Grady Sutton ...
Claude Neselrode
Vera Lewis ...
Mrs. Neselrode
Lucien Littlefield ...
Mr. Peabody
Oscar Apfel ...
President Malloy
Lew Kelly ...
Adolph Berg
Tammany Young ...
'Willie' the Weasel
...
'Legs' Garnett
Edward Gargan ...
Patrolman No.1
James Burke ...
Patrolman No.2
Carlotta Monti ...
Ambrose's Secretary
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Storyline

Ambrose Wolfinger wants the afternoon off (his first in twenty-five years) to go to a wrestling match. He tells his boss that he must attend his mother-in-law's funeral. The afternoon is no joy. He tries to please a policeman, assist a chauffeur, chase a tire, and ends up getting hit by the body of a wrestler thrown from the ring. A series of mishaps leads his boss to send floral tributes to the house and notify the papers of the death (due to poisoned liquor). His shrewish wife, judgmental mother-in-law, and good-for-nothing brother-in-law add to his burdens. In the end he enjoys their fawning loyalty, a raise in pay, and his first vacation. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 August 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Flying Trapeze  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mr Wolfinger's secretary is played by Carlotta Monti, who in real life was the mistress of W.C. Fields. See more »

Goofs

When Mr. Peabody looks up Ambrose Wolfinger in the phone book, he opens the book to the middle. A name beginning with "W" would be towards the end. See more »

Quotes

Homicidal maniac in cell: I had three wives.
Ambrose Wolfinger: Oh, yes.
Homicidal maniac in cell: But this is the first one I killed in all my life!
Ambrose Wolfinger: Oh, that's in your favor, yeah.
Homicidal maniac in cell: [Groans]
Ambrose Wolfinger: They have no more case against you than a sheep has against a butcher.
See more »

Connections

Featured in W.C. Fields: Straight Up (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away
(1897) (uncredited)
Music and lyrics by Paul Dresser
Sung a cappella by W.C. Fields, Walter Brennan, Tammany Young and Lew Kelly
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Another W.C. Fields Classic Comedy
8 September 2001 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

Ambrose Wolfinger, memory expert & severely henpecked husband, sometimes feels like he's going to lose his grasp on life and fall into very deep trouble - kind of like that old MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE.

W.C. Fields was at a lofty point in his career when he appeared in this hilarious little comedy. The second highest paid star at Paramount - only Mae West received more - he had just returned from MGM where he was featured as Wilkins Micawber in the all-star version of DAVID COPPERFIELD. Ill health would soon begin to stalk him again as a result of his dipsomania, but here he was wonderfully whimsical, whether dealing with spiteful in-laws, bullying traffic cops or bungling burglars in the cellar. With a handful of performances like this, Fields was to take permanent possession of a unique place in American film history.

Playing the two she-dragons Fields must face & fight are Kathleen Howard as his wife, and elderly Vera Lewis as her mother. Both excellent actresses, their scenes are waspish & wickedly funny and it is easy to see how together they could drive a normal male to distraction. It is unfortunate that these two skilled ladies are now nearly forgotten.

Grady Sutton is well cast as Fields' indolent, pouting brother-in-law; his comeuppance is richly deserved. That's Walter Brennan & Tammany Young as the crooning crooks who find themselves far from the banks of the Wabash.

It is interesting to note that the two women in the film who vigorously defend Fields also had close relationships with him outside the Studio. Mary Brian, as his daughter, was a longtime friend & neighbor of Fields. They had appeared together in the silent version of the story - RUNNING WILD - and Fields insisted on her inclusion in the talkie remake. Carlotta Monti, as Fields' faithful secretary, was also his longtime mistress. A part of his life for many years, she was at his side when he died on Christmas Day, 1946.


15 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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