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You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939)

 -  Comedy  -  18 February 1939 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 963 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 8 critic

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 »

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play), 6 more credits »
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Title: You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939)

You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Larson E. Whipsnade
Edgar Bergen ...
The Great Edgar
Charlie McCarthy ...
By Himself
...
Rochester (as Eddie Anderson)
Mortimer Snerd ...
By Himself
Constance Moore ...
Victoria Whipsnade
John Arledge ...
Phineas Whipsnade
James Bush ...
Roger Bel-Goodie
Thurston Hall ...
Mr. Bel-Goodie
Mary Forbes ...
Mrs. Bel-Goodie
Edward Brophy ...
Corbett
Arthur Hohl ...
Burr
Princess Baba ...
Princess Baba
Blacaman ...
By Himself
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 February 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

You Can't Cheat an Honest Man  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

W.C. Fields became a big hit on radio, especially on Edgar Bergen's radio program, where he had a long-running "feud" with Charlie McCarthy. This film was an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of that feud by having it carried on in a movie. See more »

Quotes

Whipsnade: You know, getting married is like buying a new horse... going into a strange saloon...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Edgar Bergen's dummy Charlie McCarthy is credited as Himself. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Columbo: How to Dial a Murder (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

The Irish Washerwoman
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

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User Reviews

 
W.C. Fields in the Sawdust
16 June 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In yet another variation of his "Poppy" role from his Broadway hit of the 1920s, Fields here plays Larson E. Whipsnade, owner of a circus. He has 2 children who have been off at school. The daughter, Constance Moore, feels compelled to marry for money. The son has no role.

At the circus, among Fields' attraction are Edgar Bergen and his dummies. Fields and Bergen had a solid chemistry and the radio "fued" between Fields and the dummy Charlie McCarthy were hugely popular. Their banter here is quite funny.

The plot is thin and revolves around the daughter's marriage and the financial troubles of the circus. But it's enough for Fields to build some hilarious routines around. The climactic ping pong game at the home of the groom's parents is very funny. Also funny is Fields dressed up as circus star, Buffalo Bella, the sharp-shooter.

Moore and Bergen have zero chemistry as the "lovers." But good support is provided by Eddie Anderson, Mary Forbes, Thurston Hall, James Bush, Grady Sutton, and especially Jan Duggan as Miss Sludge, the woman who starts the ping pong match. Duggan memorably co-starred with Fields in THE OLD FASHIONED WAY.

The Fields universe rarely goes well but there is a happy ending.


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