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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The car that Fields' family leaves in at the end of the film is a 1931 Pierce-Arrow Model 41, recognized by the headlamps that "grow" out of the front fenders. This styling characteristic was patented exclusively by Pierce-Arrow until almost 1940. See more »
The shaving cream on Harold's face changes when he tries to use the can as a mirror. See more »
California, Here I Come
Music by Joseph Meyer
Played during opening and end credits, as well as on a record See more »
Very Enjoyable Silliness
In "It's A Gift", W.C. Fields delivers enjoyable silliness as only he could do it. It's quite a showcase for his brand of humor, and this movie has it all, from sight gags to dry wit to hilarious predicaments to a put-upon hero. There have been few comedians like Fields who could get so much mileage out of simple ideas, or who could make outrageous ideas work so well.
The plot ostensibly concerns store owner Harold Bissonette (Fields), who dreams of owning an orange ranch in California, but very little actually happens in terms of a story - the emphasis is on the trials of daily life that Harold must endure. The movie is a series of comic set pieces in which Fields takes a simple situation and turns it into a stream of gags and laughs. His ability to find endless sources of humor in the most mundane of settings is an impressive contrast with the labored and often inappropriate efforts of so many of today's comic actors.
In this one, Fields also manages to create a pleasant atmosphere that, despite all the disorder in Harold's life, makes you feel at home with the characters. Many of the scenes also give one of the other cast members a chance for some good moments, and Kathleen Howard helps out a lot, too, as Harold's nagging wife. There's nothing to take seriously here, but if you're in the mood not to take anything seriously, this is a very enjoyable way to spend an hour or so.
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