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 »
A small country on the verge of bankruptcy is persuaded to enter the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics as a means of raising money. Either a masterpiece of absurdity or a triumph of satire, ... 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 »
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 »
Cowardly Elmer Finch is browbeaten by his wife, daughter, fat son and the family dog. After hypnosis he is domineering. He enters a contract with a fifteen-thousand dollar payoff, so his ... See full summary »
Judge Foster throws his daughter out because she married a circus man. She leaves her baby girl with Prof. McGargle before she dies. Years later Sally is a dancer with whom Peyton, a son of... 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 »
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 and daughter, Phineas and Vicky, attend a posh college. Vicky turns down her caddish but rich suitor Roger Bel-Goodie, but changes her mind when she learns of her father's financial troubles. Will Vicky marry for money or succumb to the ventriloqual charm of Edgar Bergen? Will Whipsnade's Circus Giganticus make it over the state line one jump ahead of the sheriff? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Legend has it that on the set of You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939), a stagehand was cleaning out W.C. Fields' dressing room and accidentally bumped into a table on which Fields had placed a bottle of whiskey. He caught the bottle before it hit the floor, but the cork had popped out and he couldn't find it. He placed the bottle back on the table and left. Later Fields came back to the dressing room, and a few minutes after-wards stormed out, roaring "Who took the cork out of my lunch?" See more »
I'm taking on the personality of a Mexican jumping bean. First the contortionist gets rheumatism. Then the sword-swallower gets tonsilitis. Hope nothing happens to that fan dancer... not 'til I get rid of this cold, anyway.
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Edgar Bergen's dummy Charlie McCarthy is credited as Himself. See more »
Very familiar material bolstered by Edger Bergen and Charlie McCarthy.
W.C. Fields made several films that were essentially the same stories with a few variations. While I love Fields films, I am not a huge fan of these derivative tales. They are derivative but still mildly entertaining---and far from his best work. "Poppy", "The Old Fashioned Way" and "You Can't Cheat and Honest Man" all share many story elements--many. Each have Fields playing the leader of a two-bit circus or acting troop. Each has a grown daughter who Fields dotes upon. Each has Fields on the verge of bankruptcy. And, in each, the daughter faces a crisis. Because of this, even if this film is done well, it's still very familiar.
Fortunately for "You Can't Cheat and Honest Man", there is one major difference that sets it apart. Because of the success of Fields and Charlie McCarthy on the radio, the folks at Universal decided to add Edger Bergen and his dummies to the movie to give it a bit of punch. Bergan's humor was quite welcome and made this film less sentimental than the two previous incarnations...and a bit funnier.
Overall, it's worth seeing. However, if at all possible, try watching one of Fields' best films first to see just how good he can be with a more original story. "It's a Gift" is probably his best, though "The Bank Dick" and "You're Telling Me" are all wonderful Fields films. They are similar in that in each W.C. appears to fall on his face but by the end has become HUGELY successful, but otherwise each is very unique and better suited for his great personality.
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