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You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939)

 -  Comedy  -  18 February 1939 (USA)
7.3
Your rating:
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,008 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 9 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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Edit

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
Edit

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
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 February 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A mí no me engaña nadie  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

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 The Real McCoys: You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Sobre las olas (Over the Waves)
(uncredited)
Music by Juventino Rosas
See more »

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User Reviews

 
W.C. Fields at less then his best, but still Fields.
22 May 2001 | by (Annandale, VA) – See all my reviews

When counting out change for a customer buying tickets at his debt-ridden circus, Fields leads the customer to believe that he not only has counted out too much, but accidentally given him change for a 20 rather than a 10. The customer grabs the money and runs without bothering to point out the mistake. I think you can guess what actually happened.

This is really the only relevance of the title to a movie which is basically a series of skits showcasing W.C. Fields and Edgar Bergen, occasionally together, but usually in individual routines. Although W.C. is always a pleasure to watch, this is certainly not one of the better movies in which to do that. First of all, the Bergen routines grow tiresome quickly. There's only so much I can take of watching a ventriloquist who moves his lips while everyone pretends that his wooden dummies are alive. Second, Fields' routines never reach the level of inspired zaniness which his best films are able to achieve.

Finally, Fields never really imbues his character with any humanity until the final scenes. It his ability to do so which makes his best movies so special ("It's a Gift", "The Bank Dick", "You're Telling Me", etc.). Without it, all you have is a run-of-the-mill hit-or-miss comedy.


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