7.2/10
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You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939)

Approved | | Comedy | 18 February 1939 (USA)
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) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Larson E. Whipsnade
...
The Great Edgar
...
Charlie
...
Rochester (as Eddie Anderson)
...
Mortimer
...
Victoria Whipsnade
...
Phineas Whipsnade
James Bush ...
Roger Bel-Goodie
...
Mr. Bel-Goodie
Mary Forbes ...
Mrs. Bel-Goodie
...
Corbett
Arthur Hohl ...
Burr
...
Princess Baba
Blacaman ...
Blacaman
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 | See all certifications »
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

There are two different cast lists in this movie, both with character names. IMDb uses the list in the opening credits because it is more complete: the end credits omit Mortimer Snerd. The only other difference places Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson last in the end credits, with the character name of "Cheerful" instead of "Rochester." See more »

Goofs

Miss Sludge's cigarette changes length from scene to scene. It's also full length and unlit when she hits W.C. with it. Also, the fan in the background is on in some scenes of the ping-pong game, and off again - during the fast cuts. The sound of the ball bouncing in the fountain sometimes doesn't match the video - you hear it clinking in the cone when it's hovering at one point. See more »

Quotes

Burr: Would you like to make a few honest dollars for yourself?
Whipsnade: Do they have to be honest?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown on canvas screens, on loops and ropes, to mimic the circus tent being raised when the circus comes to town. We see the first screen get hauled up with ropes, and there are dummies showing the stars of the show. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Great Man: W.C. Fields (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Chicken Reel
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

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User Reviews

 
W.C. Fields at less then his best, but still Fields.
22 May 2001 | by (Silver Spring, MD) – 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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