IMDb > Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935)
Man on the Flying Trapeze
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Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935) More at IMDbPro »


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7.8/10   731 votes »
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Down 23% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Ray Harris (screen play) and
Sam Hardy (screen play) ...
View company contact information for Man on the Flying Trapeze on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
3 August 1935 (USA) See more »
Hard-working, henpecked Ambrose Ambrose Wolfinger takes off from work to go to a wrestling match with catastrophic consequences. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
(5 articles)
"St Nick," Wc Fields, Cine las Americas, More
 (From MUBI. 23 April 2011, 6:56 AM, PDT)

The Forgotten: Fields Forever
 (From MUBI. 21 April 2011, 5:42 AM, PDT)

Mix Tape: "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze" in It Happened One Night
 (From FilmExperience. 19 March 2011, 12:00 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
The Domestic Hell of Mr. Fields See more (25 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

W.C. Fields ... Ambrose Wolfinger
Mary Brian ... Hope Wolfinger
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

Walter Brennan ... 'Legs' Garnett
Edward Gargan ... Patrolman No.1
James Burke ... Patrolman No.2
Carlotta Monti ... Ambrose's Secretary
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Arthur Aylesworth ... Night Court Judge (uncredited)
Jack Baxley ... Court Officer (uncredited)
Mickey Bennett ... Office Employee (uncredited)

Billy Bletcher ... Timekeeper (uncredited)
Harry C. Bradley ... Passing Motorist (uncredited)
Eddy Chandler ... Motorcycle Policeman (uncredited)
David Clyde ... J. Farnsworth Wallaby (uncredited)
Heinie Conklin ... Street Cleaner (uncredited)
Keith Daniels ... Ticket Seller (uncredited)
Helen Dickson ... Miss Dickson (uncredited)
Sarah Edwards ... Motorcar Owner (uncredited)
Harry Ekezian ... Hookalakah Meshobbab (uncredited)
James Flavin ... Henry - Chauffeur (uncredited)
George B. French ... Clerk (uncredited)
Tor Johnson ... Tosoff - Wrestler (uncredited)

Florence Lawrence ... (uncredited)
Robert Littlefield ... Neighbor with Correct Time (uncredited)
Sam Lufkin ... Ticket Taker (uncredited)
Mickey McMasters ... Referee (uncredited)
Charles Morris ... Turnkey (uncredited)
Pat O'Malley ... Officer (uncredited)
Lorin Raker ... Ring Announcer (uncredited)
Joe Sawyer ... Ambulance Driver (uncredited)
Eddie Sturgis ... Bystander at Arena Gate (uncredited)
Albert Taylor ... Clerk (uncredited)
Rosemary Theby ... Helpful Passerby (uncredited)
Minerva Urecal ... Italian Woman in Ambulance (uncredited)
Michael Visaroff ... Homicidal Maniac in Cell (uncredited)
Dorothy Ward ... Information Girl (uncredited)
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Directed by
Clyde Bruckman 
W.C. Fields (uncredited)
Writing credits
Ray Harris (screen play) and
Sam Hardy (screen play)

W.C. Fields (from a story by) (as Charles Bogle) and
Sam Hardy (from a story by)

Jack Cunningham  contributor to treatment (uncredited)
Frank Griffin  contributor to dialogue (uncredited)
John Sinclair  contributor to special sequences (uncredited)
Bobby Vernon  contributor to special sequences (uncredited)

Produced by
William LeBaron .... producer
Henry Herzbrun .... executive producer (uncredited)
Adolph Zukor .... executive producer (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Alfred Gilks (photographed by)
Film Editing by
Richard C. Currier (uncredited)
Art Direction by
Hans Dreier (uncredited)
A. Earl Hedrick (uncredited)
Music Department
Tom Satterfield .... composer: incidental music (uncredited)
Other crew
Adolph Zukor .... presenter
Dorothy White .... production secretary (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
66 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #945) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating)

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.See more »
Ambrose Wolfinger:My poor mother-in-law died three days ago. I'm attending her funeral this afternoon.
Ambrose's Secretary:Isn't that terrible, Mr. Wolfinger!
Ambrose Wolfinger:Yes, it's terrible. It's awful. Horrible tragedy.
Ambrose's Secretary:It must be hard to lose your mother-in-law.
Ambrose Wolfinger:Yes it is, very hard. It's almost impossible.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in W.C. Fields: Straight Up (1986) (TV)See more »
On the Banks of the Wabash, Far AwaySee more »


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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
The Domestic Hell of Mr. Fields, 22 September 2005
Author: theowinthrop from United States

Despite his marvelous comic con-men, who always outwits the rubes and dolts about him, there is a side of W.C. Fields that few people ever notice: he is usually a hopeless, henpecked husband when he is married. His Ambrose Wolfinger (in MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE) is probably the most helpless married man that he ever portrayed.

Ambrose has actually been married (presumably more happily) to a previous wife, who has died. But they had a little girl (now grown up) named Hope (Mary Bryan) who is his one total ally in the family. His second wife, Leona Wolfinger, née Nesselrode (Kathleen Howard) is strict and shrewish with him. And his mother in law and brother in law Claude (Grady Sutton, playing a totally disreputable liar, trouble-maker, leech, and thief for a change) make his hell total.

In this film Fields is controlled by events and people - he rarely shows any of the spunk and cleverness that his Great McGonigal or Egbert Souse or Larson E. Whipsnade show. He tries to get two burglars charged in court, but they were drinking apple jack that he had allowed to ferment, so the idiot crabby judge ignores the burglary and charges Fields with violating the prohibition laws! He tries to see a wrestling match, but is delayed by traffic problems, a tire that runs away from him, a set of traffic cops, and arrives too late to see the match, only to be knocked down by one of the wrestlers being thrown on him. To make the situation even more absurd, he did not realize this ticket was stolen by Claude, who seeing him lying on the ground sneers at him as "Drunk again!"

He is also harried by his boss (Lucien Littlefield) at work, and he has to lie to get a miserable afternoon off to see the match (he says his mother-in-law died). When the truth comes out, Littlefield (on his own - as he subsequently regrets) fires him.

This is how it goes throughout the film. Except for Mary Bryan and for his secretary (Carlotta Monti, who has a nice moment at Littlefield's expense), all of the characters use and abuse Fields. He is only finally aroused when Claude tries to slap Hope, and Fields defends her, knocking out Claude. But even after that he still seems lost regarding what to do to pick up his life.

The film is funny - witness the business about Field's filing system at the office (he's a memory expert). When the actual head of the firm (Littlefield's boss - Oscar Apfel) tries to find things without Fields around, he goes nuts with the system. Littlefield tries to defend his action, only to be told by Monti that he has libeled her by suggesting Fields and she were out together at the match. Littlefield is then informed that if he can't get Fields back he'd better start looking for a new job (in the depression).

Howard's role is curious. Like her performance in IT'S A GIFT, she is extremely strict and suspicious. At one point, when Fields is getting ready to go down and check for burglars, she is begging for him to hurry and not to forget his gun. He takes the gun out, and accidentally fires it. High strung by the situation, the shooting scares Howard into a faint - Fields looks at her and with a slight trace of hope in his voice he asks, "Are you dead?" Yet, he did marry her, and at the end, when stuck alone with her mother and brother (who won't look for work), she seems to realize that - for better or worse - Ambrose was a good provider. In the end she is reunited with him and with her step-daughter.

It is a good comedy, and if it lacks the polish of THE BANK DICK and IT'S A GIFT and THE OLD FASHIONED WAY it is still worth watching.

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