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:
That threatened ride on a buzz saw 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:
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 »
Quotes:
Whipsnade:[to Charlie] I shall send over a couple of pet beavers to romp with you.See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
The Irish WasherwomanSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
15 out of 16 people found the following review useful.
That threatened ride on a buzz saw, 7 October 2005
Author: theowinthrop from United States

It is true that Edgar Bergan and Charlie McCarthy were far more effective in their national audience on radio than in the movies. This was due to the close-up affect of cinematography on Bergen's face - he could not hide the fact that his lips moved a little. When on a stage in a nightclub or in vaudeville he'd be too far away to be seen moving his lips. Not so on film.

But Bergan and McCarthy put ventriloquism on the map. Their act and radio show took the art of throwing one's voice and brought a biting humor to it, giving the dummy a real personality: a wise guy little man, with an eye for the ladies and an eye for making trouble for people he did not like (among whom was Fields). The feud of McCarthy and Fields mirrored the contemporary feud of Fred Allan and Jack Benny, except that Allan and Benny were both real. But on radio Charlie was as real as "Uncle Claude" was, so the fact that it was a block of wood that was manipulated fighting a real life man did not matter. The public just loved Charlie reminding Fields of his alcoholism, in particular his large red nose. And the public loved the threats of Fields to give Charlie a ride on a buzz saw.

Because of the strong personality of McCarthy, a movie audience even today looks at this film and tends to ignore Bergen's slight lip movements. Charlie is the real personality of interest, not Edgar - here playing a hard working young man who would like to marry Vicki Whipsnade (Constance Moore) but is resigned that she wants to marry a wealthy young wastrel instead. Bergen could act (look at his performance in I REMEMBER MAMA, as Ellen Corby's boyfriend/husband, and his comic scene there with Oskar Homolka regarding the dowry). But he did not have to act as Bergen here - all he had to do was let Charlie do his job (and, for that matter, let Mortimer Snerd do his work too in two scenes). The tricks used by the director to have scenes where Charlie appears without Bergan are just even more effective, as they enhance the idea of an independent comic personality coming out of the dummy.

For Fields there are many choice moments too. His walk, supposedly naked after a shower, across the circus grounds - hidden behind people carrying items, or elephants and other animals, until a lady screams and faints (and Fields is finally physically revealed to the audience) is a gem. So is his wrecking the Bel-Goodies engagement party, first by his mad ping pong match, and then by his insistence of telling the story of how his life was saved once by an intelligent rattlesnake (not realizing that Mrs. Bel-Goody hates even the mention of snakes). His interactions with the circus staff, with the idiotic Grady Sutton, with labor union organizer Edward Brophy, and with the various people buying tickets for the circus, or for that matter mispronouncing his name as "Larceny Whipsnake" are priceless. So is his own attempt at ventriloquism: he does it so you can't see his lips move, but you just can't believe he is throwing his voice. Well he is throwing dust or something else at that moment.

But it is his running confrontations with McCarthy, some of which he actually loses (he has one where he has to bribe Charlie at one point to keep quiet) that maintains the audience's attention. The film is one of Fields' best ones, and deservedly retains it's popularity to this day.

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