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Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Musical  |  10 October 1941 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,491 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 17 critic

Fields wants to sell a film story to Esoteric Studios. On the way he gets insulted by little boys, beat up for ogling a woman, and abused by a waitress. He becomes his niece's guardian when... See full summary »

Director:

(as Edward Cline)

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Gloria Jean ...
His Niece
Leon Errol ...
His Rival
Billy Lenhart ...
His Heckler (as Butch)
Kenneth Brown ...
His Heckler (as Buddy)
...
Mrs. Hemogloben
Susan Miller ...
Ouilotta Hemogloben
...
The Producer
Mona Barrie ...
The Producer's Wife
Charles Lang ...
The Young Engineer
Anne Nagel ...
Madame Gorgeous
Nell O'Day ...
The Salesgirl
Irving Bacon ...
The Soda Jerk
Jody Gilbert ...
The Waitress
Minerva Urecal ...
The Cleaning Woman
Edit

Storyline

Fields wants to sell a film story to Esoteric Studios. On the way he gets insulted by little boys, beat up for ogling a woman, and abused by a waitress. He becomes his niece's guardian when her mother is killed in a trapeze fall during the making of a circus movie. He and his niece, who he finds at a shooting gallery, fly to Mexico to sell wooden nutmegs in a Russian colony. Trying to catch his bottle as it falls from the plane, he lands on a mountain peak where lives the man- eating Mrs. Hemogloben. When he gets to the Russian colony he finds Leon Errol (father of the insulting boys and owner of the shooting gallery) already selling wooden nutmegs. He decides to woo the wealthy Mrs. Hemogloben but when he gets there Errol has preceded him. The Mexican adventure is the story that Esoteric Studios would not buy. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Approved
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 October 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gib einem Trottel nie eine Chance  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In the soda-shop scene, Fields turns to the camera and announces that the scene was supposed to have been filmed in a saloon "but the censor cut it out". He was telling the truth. See more »

Goofs

When the ladder of the fire truck lifts the car into the air, a shadow on the front of the building reveals the rigging and crane that actually did the lifting. See more »

Quotes

The Great Man: Oh, for a Maxwell parachute!
Ouliotta Delight Hemogloben: What's a Maxwell parachute?
The Great Man: Good until the last drop, dear.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: W.C. Fields (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

COMIN' THROUGH THE RYE
(uncredited)
Music Traditional
Lyrics by Robert Burns
Sung by Susan Miller
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Almost perfect; 9/10
27 June 2001 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

One of Fields' best (is there anything that's not?), Never Give a Sucker an Even Break is basically his swan song. Never again would he star in a motion picture. And it is a glorious swan song, nearly as funny as his greatest film, The Bank Dick. It may even be his second best film, although several fight for that position: The Old-Fashioned Way, It's a Gift, You're Telling Me, The Man on the Flying Trapeze, etc.

In a somewhat mournful way, the plot revolves around Fields, playing himself, trying to sell a script to a producer played by Franklin Pangborn (a bit confusing, seeing he retains his real name; Franklin Pangborn was an actor, though, not a producer). The film Fields wants to make is a lot like many other classic comedies: a bunch of gags strung together in a haphazard fashion. Part of the joke is that the plot doesn't exist as such. Tastes were changing at the time, and Pangborn is flabberghasted at the nonsensical plot. The funniest moments of Never Give a Sucker an Even Break take place as Fields' own screenplay plays out.

Like a lot of classic comedies, this one is also part musical, but unlike those same comedies, the music in this film isn't painful to sit through (I'm lookin' at you, Marx Brothers!). It's actually quite marvelous. The songs are sung by Gloria Jean, a teenager playing Fields' niece. She is beautiful and a wonderful singer. She's also quite funny when the film gives her that chance (her audition for Pangborn is gold). Also joining the cast is the Marx Brothers' favorite foil, Margaret Dumont, playing a woman who hates men so much she brought her daughter up on top of a steep precipice to raise her without the impediment of that gender.


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