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My Little Chickadee (1940)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Western  |  15 March 1940 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,897 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 15 critic

Rightly suspected of illicit relations with the Masked Bandit, Flower Belle Lee is run out of Little Bend. On the train she meets con man Cuthbert J. Twillie and pretends to marry him for "... See full summary »

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(original screen play), (original screen play)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Cuthbert J. Twillie
...
Jeff Badger
Dick Foran ...
Wayne Carter
Ruth Donnelly ...
Aunt Lou
...
Mrs. Gideon
...
Amos Budge
Fuzzy Knight ...
Cousin Zeb
Willard Robertson ...
Uncle John
George Moran ...
Milton
Jackie Searl ...
Boy (as Jack Searl)
Fay Adler ...
Mrs. 'Pygmy' Allen
Gene Austin ...
Saloon Musician
Russell Hall ...
Candy (as 'Candy')
Otto Heimel ...
Coco (as 'Coco')
Edit

Storyline

Rightly suspected of illicit relations with the Masked Bandit, Flower Belle Lee is run out of Little Bend. On the train she meets con man Cuthbert J. Twillie and pretends to marry him for "respectability." Arrived in Greasewood City with his unkissed bride, Twillie is named sheriff by town boss Jeff Badger...with an ulterior motive. Meanwhile, both stars inimitably display their specialties, as Twillie tends bar and plays cards, and Flower Belle tames the town's rowdy schoolboys... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE BELLE OF THE BADLANDS! HER ROOTIN'TOOTIN'ROMEO! And when they get together for the first time...it's your grandest time! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 March 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Lady and the Bandit  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dick Foran, who was being paid by the week, would go to Mae West and tell her that W.C. Fields was rewriting his lines to give himself more screen time and to try to steal the film from her. Then he would go to Fields and tell him the same thing about West. In this manner he was able to extend his employment from a few weeks to several months, as both Fields and West - who didn't like each other - would hold up production while they would rewrite their scenes. See more »

Goofs

When the 'train' stops to pick up the Fields character it consists of the locomotive only. The carriages then reappear in the next scene. See more »

Quotes

Jeff Badger: You are the sheriff wife now. It would be very embarrassing for you to know who I am.
Flower Belle Lee: Mmm... I've never been embarrassed in my life.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Universal Story (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Persischer Marsch (Persian March), Op. 289
Composed by Johann Strauss II
[Played during Flower Belle's and Twillie's arrival at the hotel in Greasewood.]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
High Concept
23 April 2008 | by (Long Island, USA) – See all my reviews

I believe that, some time in the 1970's, more than thirty years after MY LITTLE CHICKADEE was made, the term "high concept" was coined. So, starting in the seventies, a lot of movies with sure-fire ideas became the trend. ("What?", someone, circa 1990 might say, "Arnold Schwarzenegger is being teamed with Danny DeVito? Why, that must be hilarious!") So, clearly, somebody thought the idea of W.C. Fields and Mae West sharing the silver screen would work, and MY LITTLE CHICKADEE remains the ultimate example of both the pitfalls and the merits of High Concept movie-making. Fields and West, both iconic figures, were actually so similar that the audience's loyalties are torn. We watch a West picture to observe Mae West turn the tables on men and we watch a Fields picture to watch Fields flout authority. When Fields and West meet and appear to like each other (he wanting sex and she wanting money) we love them both. Fields gets off one of his most memorable lines as he holds her fingers up to his lips and says, "What symmetrical digits.") She, in turn, throws her false submission at him, letting us know between the lines that she's a woman of steel. So far, so good. Their romance is viewed suspiciously by a character actress who is the perfect foil for both of them: Margaret Hamilton, who, of course, played the Wicked Witch of the West the year before in THE WIZARD OF OZ. Fields and West are married aboard the train by West's con-man friend -- hence, they are not really being married -- and this actor is also the sort of figure who belongs in a movie with either Fields or West. But let's cut to the chase. Both Fields and West have separate moments for the rest of the movie and each of these moments is somewhat minimal. West's scene teaching a classroom of overgrown adolescents seems to be a whitewashing of a bawdy routine from her stage days. It almost makes it. Fields's various encounters with gamblers and a female drunk (who HAS to be Celeste Holm, uncredited, as someone else on this board has noted) are promising, but somehow never really engaging. Thinking about this movie, nevertheless, brings a smile to the face. There are so many little things which, popping into the memory, are funny, that it has to be acknowledged that MY LITTLE CHICKADEE achieved its goal: driving into our minds the idea of the harmony of two comics who'd made audiences howl with laughter in live performance twenty years earlier. It should also be said that the ideal audience for MY LITTLE CHICKADEE is an audience in a darkened movie theatre. Ideally, the year should be the year it was made and the audience should be made up of people who've been anticipating this pairing and would be more than willing to hoot throughout. Has anybody got a time machine?


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