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It's a Gift (1934)

Passed | | Comedy | 30 November 1934 (USA)
A henpecked New Jersey grocer makes plans to move to California to grow oranges, despite the resistance of his overbearing wife.

Director:

Norman Z. McLeod (as Norman McLeod)

Writers:

Jack Cunningham (screen play), J.P. McEvoy (from "The Comic Supplement" by) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
W.C. Fields ... Harold Bissonette
Kathleen Howard ... Amelia Bissonette
Jean Rouverol ... Mildred Bissonette
Julian Madison Julian Madison ... John Durston
Tommy Bupp ... Norman Bissonette (as Tom Bupp)
Baby LeRoy ... Baby Dunk
Tammany Young ... Everett Ricks
Morgan Wallace ... James Fitchmueller
Charles Sellon ... Mr. Muckle
Josephine Whittell ... Mrs. Dunk
T. Roy Barnes ... Insurance Salesman
Diana Lewis ... Miss Dunk
Spencer Charters ... Gate Guard
Guy Usher Guy Usher ... Harry Payne Bosterly
Dell Henderson ... Mr. Abernathy (as Del Henderson)
Edit

Storyline

The owner of a general store (Harold Bisonette) is hounded by his status-anxious wife ("That's 'Bee-soh-nay'" and "I have no maid you know"). To get some sleep he goes out on the porch where he is tormented by a little boy from the floor above (Baby Dunk) and an insurance salesman down below ("LaFong. Capital L, small a..."). He uses an inheritance to buy an orange ranch through the mail, then drives off with his family for California. The orange grove consists of a withered tree, the ranch house is but a shack, and the car falls to pieces. But a racetrack operator wants the land, so all ends happily. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

LOOK THIS GIFT IN THE FACE IF YOU WANT A BIG HORSE-LAUGH (original herald - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 November 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Back Porch See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the Top 100 Funniest American Movies (#58). See more »

Goofs

During the "back porch" scene, Harold notices a pair of large bloomers come into view against the porch column. In the next shot, there is a distant view of the entire back of that same building. None of the laundry is visible and there was not sufficient time for the neighbor to remove it. See more »

Quotes

Harold: Vegetable man? Vegetable gentleman?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The confrontation between W.C. Fields and Baby LeRoy was such a popular success that for this rematch the title card includes "with Baby LeRoy" as if the infant had second billing. See more »

Connections

Referenced in CEO Temp (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

California, Here I Come
(1924) (uncredited)
Music by Joseph Meyer
Played during opening and end credits, as well as on a record
See more »

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User Reviews

 
W.C. Fields Best Comedy
16 June 2000 | by CHARLIE-89See all my reviews

IT'S A GIFT is generally cited as W.C. Fields' best comedy. For me, it is a nonstop funfest. Unlike some comedies which think they need to have love interest to be popular, Fields makes us laught at him for 73 minutes non-stop. A true genius. This work is not typical of its time, however. In a time when most film comedies were either witty romantic, Lubitsch-esque films, or wild madcap Marx Bros.-style films, IT'S A GIFT stands alone as a piece of physical sight-gag humor. However, there are no impossible sight-gags, little actual slapstick, but enough laughs for five films. This goes on par with DUCK SOUP, TROUBLE IN PARADISE, MODERN TIMES, and A NIGHT AT THE OPERA as one of the finest comedy films of all time.

Interestingly enough, IT'S A GIFT was recently voted to be one of the top 100 funniest films ever made by the American Film Institute. However, a film like this doesn't need any awards to prove its greatness. Regardless of the critics, IT'S A GIFT will surely remain a genuine masterpiece of cinema and of W.C. Fields in particular.


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