IMDb > You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939)
You Can't Cheat an Honest Man
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You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

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Writers:
George Marion Jr. (screen play) &
Richard Mack (screen play) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for You Can't Cheat an Honest Man on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
18 February 1939 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Larson E. Whipsnade runs a seedy circus which is perpetually in debt. His performers give him nothing but trouble... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
NewsDesk:
(5 articles)
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"St Nick," Wc Fields, Cine las Americas, More
 (From MUBI. 23 April 2011, 6:56 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
"Somebody Took The Cork Out Of My Lunch" See more (15 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

W.C. Fields ... Larson E. Whipsnade
Edgar Bergen ... The Great Edgar
Charlie McCarthy ... By Himself

Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson ... 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
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ernie Adams ... Eddie - Circus Attendant (uncredited)
Dorothy Arnold ... 1st Debutante (uncredited)
Irving Bacon ... Jailer (uncredited)
Lulu Mae Bohrman ... Wedding Guest (uncredited)
Ralph Brooks ... Wedding Guest (uncredited)
Eddy Chandler ... Highway Patrol Officer (uncredited)
Dora Clement ... Woman (uncredited)
Jack Clifford ... Riding Master (uncredited)
Richard Clucas ... Little Boy (uncredited)
Charles Coleman ... Robinson - Bel-Goodie's Butler (uncredited)
Evelyn Del Rio ... Little Girl Who Cries (uncredited)
Drew Demorest ... Barker (uncredited)
Dick Dickinson ... Contortionist (uncredited)
Jan Duggan ... Mrs. Sludge (uncredited)
Eddie Dunn ... Cop (uncredited)
Billy Engle ... Circus Attendant (uncredited)
Jack Gardner ... Ticket Seller (uncredited)
Grace Goodall ... Screaming Spinster / Wedding Guest (uncredited)
Jennifer Gray ... 3rd Debutante (uncredited)
Bobby Hale ... Circus Attendant (uncredited)
Ted Hardy ... Russian Circus Performer (uncredited)
Sam Harris ... Wedding Guest (uncredited)
Leyland Hodgson ... Butler (uncredited)
Otto Hoffman ... Mayor (uncredited)
Lloyd Ingraham ... Mayor / Wedding Guest (uncredited)
Frank Jenks ... Jerry - Assistant (uncredited)
Si Jenks ... Hillbilly (uncredited)
Tiny Jones ... Spectator (uncredited)
Jack Kenney ... Barker (uncredited)
Joe King ... Policeman (uncredited)

Ivan Lebedeff ... Ronnie (uncredited)
Ethelreda Leopold ... Blonde at Party (uncredited)
Jimmie Lucas ... Barker (uncredited)
Kathryn Marlowe ... 2nd Debutante (uncredited)
Eric Mayne ... Wedding Guest (uncredited)
Frank Melton ... First Yokel (uncredited)
Harold Miller ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Edmund Mortimer ... Wedding Guest (uncredited)
James C. Morton ... Judge (uncredited)
Ray Moyer ... Fire Eater (uncredited)
Byron Munson ... Ping-Pong Player (uncredited)
Charles Murphy ... Lon - Roustabout (uncredited)
Frank O'Connor ... Cop with Judge (uncredited)
George Offerman Jr. ... Western Union Man (uncredited)
David Oliver ... Man Cheated at Window (uncredited)
George Ovey ... Circus Attendant (uncredited)
Lee Phelps ... Sheriff (uncredited)
June Preston ... Little Blond Girl Singing and Dancing (uncredited)
Ralph Sanford ... Truck Driver (uncredited)
Harry Stafford ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Grady Sutton ... Chester Dalrymple (uncredited)
Ferris Taylor ... Deputy Sheriff (uncredited)
Don Terry ... Ping-Pong Player (uncredited)
Walter Tetley ... Boy with Candy Cane (uncredited)
Edward Thomas ... Bel-Goodie Butler (uncredited)
Lelah Tyler ... Society Woman / Wedding Guest (uncredited)
Minerva Urecal ... Screaming Spinster at Circus (uncredited)
Dale Van Sickel ... Wedding Guest (uncredited)
Russell Wade ... Wedding Guest (uncredited)
Beryl Wallace ... Girl (uncredited)
Delmar Watson ... Boy with Slingshot (uncredited)
Florence Wix ... Wedding Guest (uncredited)
Bill Wolfe ... Ticket Buyer / Brentwood - World's Smallest Giant (uncredited)
Edward Woolf ... Thin Man (uncredited)
Bill Worth ... Elwood - World's Largest Midget (uncredited)
Arthur Yeoman ... Barker (uncredited)
Duke York ... Minor Role (uncredited)

Directed by
George Marshall 
Edward F. Cline (uncredited)
 
Writing credits
George Marion Jr. (screen play) &
Richard Mack (screen play) &
Everett Freeman (screen play)

W.C. Fields (story) (as Charles Bogle)

Henry Johnson  contributor to screen play construction and special sequences (uncredited)
Lew Lipton  contributor to screen play construction and special sequences (uncredited)
Manuel Seff  contributor to screen play construction (uncredited)
James Seymour  contributor to screen play construction (uncredited)

Produced by
Lester Cowan .... producer
 
Original Music by
Frank Skinner (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Milton R. Krasner (director of photography) (as Milton Krasner)
 
Film Editing by
Otto Ludwig (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
Jack Otterson 
 
Set Decoration by
Russell A. Gausman (set decorations) (as R.A. Gausman)
 
Costume Design by
Vera West (gowns)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Vernon Keays .... assistant director
Edward F. Cline .... second unit director (uncredited)
Vernon Keays .... second unit director (uncredited)
Edward Sedgwick .... second unit director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Charles H. Clarke .... associate art director
 
Sound Department
Bernard B. Brown .... sound supervisor
Robert Pritchard .... technician
 
Music Department
Charles Previn .... musical director
Sam Perry .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Paul Van Loan .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Franz Waxman .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
 
Other crew
David Lipton .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Cliff Work .... production assistant (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
79 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Certification:
USA:Approved (PCA #5101)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
W.C. Fields turned down the role of the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz (1939) to make this filmSee more »
Quotes:
Charlie McCarthy:Are you eating a tomato or is that your nose?See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Sobre las olas (Over the Waves)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
7 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
"Somebody Took The Cork Out Of My Lunch", 23 July 2008
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

You Can't Cheat An Honest Man finds widower W.C. Fields running a second rate circus and trying to stay one step ahead of the law as he's creditors just about every place he goes. His children, John Arledge and Constance Moore attend a really posh Ivy League type school and you sympathize with Fields because you know this why he's probably not paying his bills. One also can speculate what his wife must have put up with back in the day.

Moore on a visit to Dad's show falls for the ventriloquist sideshow performer Edgar Bergen. But Bergen doesn't really get along with Fields or I should say his alter ego Charlie McCarthy doesn't.

The Fields-McCarthy feud was legendary on radio and it might seem hard to fathom how a ventriloquist could entertain on radio. But the characters he created were so powerful and had such a hold on the minds of the public that they were real. Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd were characters in their own right, they almost but not quite gained separate identities away from Edgar Bergen.

Anyway on Bergen's show, Bill Fields was a frequent guest and the repartee between Fields and McCarthy is still classic. Even without knowing that background, today's audience can still enjoy You Can't Cheat an Honest Man because the comedy is eternal.

There's not much of a plot except for Moore loving Bergen, but being ready to marry snobbish James Bush to help her father in his financial troubles. I'm sure you can figure out how that goes, especially when prospect in-laws Thurston Hall and Mary Forbes meet Fields at a little clambake they're throwing.

The circus offers a range of opportunity for some great gags including trying to pry Charlie McCarthy out of an alligator, an elephant who gives Fields showers on command and of course sawing Charlie in half during a magic act.

Still it's the repartee between Fields and Bergen and another of the unforgettable characterizations that Bill Fields brings us which makes You Can't Cheat An Honest Man a comedy classic.

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