Crosby plays a Philadelpia Quaker engaged to a Southern belle. He becomes a social outcast when he refuses to fight a duel. Fields then hires him to perform on his riverboat, promoting him ...
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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 »
Of the singing Beebe brothers, young Mike just wants to be a kid; responsible Dave wants to work in his garage and marry Martha; but feckless Joe thinks his only road to success is through ... 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 »
Crosby plays a Philadelpia Quaker engaged to a Southern belle. He becomes a social outcast when he refuses to fight a duel. Fields then hires him to perform on his riverboat, promoting him as "Colonel Steel...the notorious Colonel Steel...the singing killer." The plot then follows a predictable course, but there are plenty of scenes featuring W.C. Fields. Written by
Since Jan Duggan is credited in the opening set of credits, but not in the more comprehensive end set, the opening credits are listed first, followed by those in the end credits not yet in, as required by IMDb policy on cast ordering. See more »
Commodore Jackson returns Captain Blackie's IOU, but it reappears in his pocket at 00:40:26; in the next shot it is empty again. See more »
Songs written by Rodgers and Hart and the talents of Bing Crosby, Joan Bennett and W.C. Fields were reasons enough to watch 'Mississippi'. While it won't go down there as one of my personal favourites any time soon, it is very undervalued and impossible not to like.
The pacing occasionally rambles and there are a few jokes that can be seen as racially insensitive, some of the stereotypes are blatant and not for the easily offended. However, there is also so much to like about 'Mississippi', and if the questionable jokes were excised perhaps it would not only be an even better film but a better regarded one too, rather than the somewhat forgotten film it's become.
'Mississippi' is a very good-looking film, not spectacularly lavish but it certainly doesn't look cheap either. It's beautifully shot, efficiently edited and has lovingly designed costumes and settings. The Rodgers and Hart score is great, all the songs very pleasant and hummable with one song a classic and not a weak link among them. The best of the lot is "It's Easy to Remember", couldn't a song title be any more apt for a song as unforgettably wonderful as this one. For me it is one of the best Crosby sang on screen, and should have been a bigger hit.
Apart from a few questionable jokes/asides, there is a very light-hearted, witty and very funny script, with a lot of Fields' dialogue bringing much joy and laughter. While rambling a little in the pacing sometimes, it is hard not to be charmed by the story, which hits the tone that it wanted and needed just right. There is one particularly memorable scene where Fields draws five aces in a poker game. Edward Sutherland directs in a way that gets the job done while also never falling into clunk, heavy-footedness or lead.
Crosby here is in a different role to usual, and it actually suits him perfectly. He has fun, he's charming and he is at ease, one of his better early-career performances. Joan Bennett is lovely as the love interest, but it is a splendid W.C. Fields who steals the film. Bagging the best lines, Fields attacks the character with gusto and just looks as though he's having a whale of a time, it's just delightful to watch.
Overall, an undervalued film made especially enjoyable for "It's Easy to Remember" and Fields' performance. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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