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 »
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 ... See full summary »
Poppy, daughter of carnival medicine salesman Professor McGargle, falls in love with the Mayor's son. Countess Maggie Tubbs DePuizzi is claimant to the Putnam estates, but McGargle and lawyer Wiffen plot to make Poppy claim the fortune. Wiffen and the Countess double-cross the Professor, but kindly Sarah Tucker notices a resemble between Poppy and the deceased Mrs. Putnam. It turns out that McGargle adopted the girl, she is the rightful heir, the purported Countess is only a showgirl, and every one has a happy ending. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
I left this one for last from the films in the W.C. FIELDS COMEDY COLLECTION VOL. 2 because it's always been reported that his contribution is swamped by the plot; I ended up enjoying it more than I had expected to and, in fact, consider this an underrated star vehicle.
It's true that the sentimental narrative, romantic subplot and even a couple of songs get in the way of the comedy highlights, but Fields himself is in fine form here (he originated the role of Professor Eustace McGargle on stage and had already appeared in a Silent version of the Dorothy Donnelly play called SALLY OF THE SAWDUST  - directed, of all people, by D.W. Griffith and, for this reason, making it one of the very few Fields Silents released on DVD!). Incidentally, the star was seriously injured during the making of POPPY - not that his performance is effected in any way. Here, also, we're treated to the same kind of period atmosphere as in THE OLD FASHIONED WAY (1934): Fields, however, is a sideshow performer instead of the manager/lead actor of a theatrical troupe and has exchanged the awkward golf practice of YOU'RE TELLING ME! (1934) for the game of croquet - at which he's equally inept (besides playing an instrument called the kadoola to replace his memorable juggling act in THE OLD FASHIONED WAY). As in MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE (1935), too, here we get various instances of Fields' unique and hilarious shriek whenever he takes a fall.
Among the film's best gags/lines are the following: the 'talking' dog scam; Fields berating a hot dog vendor for 'seeking his advise' in the sale of two half-eaten loaves, after the latter insulted him by suggesting that Fields couldn't afford to pay for them; he keeps running into a cadaverous fellow he swindled and who relentlessly asks for his money back; Fields mistaking a helpful gesture as to his presumed wife's distinctive features (the man indicated a mole under her ear, but Fields thought he meant she had sideburns!); his remark about the horse he was fleeing on dying out on him right in front of the police station. By the way, the last line of the film, "Never give a sucker an even break", gave the name to one of Fields' most famous vehicles (also included in the set and which I watched earlier this week).
Now I need to pick up the four remaining Fields films that are available on DVD - the afore-mentioned SALLY OF THE SAWDUST, SIX OF A KIND (1934), David COPPERFIELD (1935) and THE BIG BROADCAST OF 1938 (1938) - all but the first of which have been issued as part of some collection or other. Incidentally, there are still enough unreleased Fields movies from the Talkie period to compile yet another Universal set; so, let's hope they deliver sooner rather than later...
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