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 »
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 <email@example.com>
The frantic race down the Hyperion Street bridge on Glendale Avenue when Field's car is hooked onto the firetruck: Look to the upper far right of the scene in the distance and you will see the Great Mausoleum of Forest Lawn where Fields would eventually be interred in the Columbarium of Nativity. See more »
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 »
Never Give A Sucker An Even Break was W.C. Fields's last starring film and last one that he had complete creative control. All of his future film work would be guest appearances and specialties.
This film is as anarchistic as anything the Marx Brothers ever did, in fact it anticipates Monty Python by over 30 years. Most of it is Fields relating an idea for a screenplay to studio head Franklin Pangborn. This is where it gets positively surreal.
To cement the Marxian connection Fields gets to pay court to Groucho's favorite foil Margaret Dumont. But the relationship here is totally different. Margaret is always the butt of Groucho's bon mots half of which she confessed herself went over her head. With Fields as with other women like Kathleen Howard who henpecked him previously, the women dominate and Fields gets his points across, but mostly with pantomime and facial expression.
The film is also to showcase Universal's backup teenage soprano Gloria Jean. Remember at this time before Abbott&Costello score a hit with Buck Privates, Deanna Durbin was their number one star. But the best way to keep a star under control was to have a replacement waiting in the wings. That was Gloria Jean's function. She had done well with Bing Crosby in a film the previous year, If I Had My Way, that allowed a far better expression of her talents. She had a pleasing soprano voice and Fields lowered the cynicism quotient in his scenes with his 'niece'.
Still Never Give A Sucker An Even Break is a Bill Fields film all the way. Too bad this was the last film to give his talents full range.
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