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Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935)

Passed | | Comedy | 3 August 1935 (USA)
Hard-working, henpecked Ambrose Wolfinger takes off from work to go to a wrestling match with catastrophic consequences.

Directors:

Clyde Bruckman, W.C. Fields (uncredited)

Writers:

Ray Harris (screen play), Sam Hardy (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
W.C. Fields ... Ambrose Wolfinger
Mary Brian ... Hope Wolfinger
Kathleen Howard ... Leona Wolfinger
Grady Sutton ... Claude Neselrode
Vera Lewis ... Mrs. Neselrode
Lucien Littlefield ... Mr. Peabody
Oscar Apfel ... President Malloy
Lew Kelly Lew Kelly ... Adolph Berg
Tammany Young ... 'Willie' the Weasel
Walter Brennan ... 'Legs' Garnett
Edward Gargan ... Patrolman No.1
James Burke ... Patrolman No.2
Carlotta Monti ... Ambrose's Secretary
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Storyline

Ambrose Wolfinger wants the afternoon off (his first in twenty-five years) to go to a wrestling match. He tells his boss that he must attend his mother-in-law's funeral. The afternoon is no joy. He tries to please a policeman, assist a chauffeur, chase a tire, and ends up getting hit by the body of a wrestler thrown from the ring. A series of mishaps leads his boss to send floral tributes to the house and notify the papers of the death (due to poisoned liquor). His shrewish wife, judgmental mother-in-law, and good-for-nothing brother-in-law add to his burdens. In the end he enjoys their fawning loyalty, a raise in pay, and his first vacation. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 August 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Flying Trapeze See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

This was the last film directed by Clyde Bruckman. Although Bruckman's name appears on the credit, this film was actually directed by W.C. Fields, who took over after Bruckman had to quit early in the shoot due to the effects of his alcoholism. This is the only film on which Fields technically worked as his own director. See more »

Goofs

Mother-in-law Cordelia says "Well he's a fiend, a wool in sheep's clothing" ... Leona Wolfinger immediately catching the error says "What?" and immediately Cordelia corrects herself "A wolf in sheep's clothing ..." and the scene continues as if no error occurs; a great recovery. See more »

Quotes

Hope Wolfinger: He stole that ticket out of your pocket. I despise him, Dad. The lazy, good-for-nothing, fat, overfed monkey!
Ambrose Wolfinger: He, uh, he isn't too fat.
See more »

Connections

Featured in W.C. Fields: Straight Up (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away
(1897) (uncredited)
Music and lyrics by Paul Dresser
Sung a cappella by W.C. Fields, Walter Brennan, Tammany Young and Lew Kelly
See more »

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User Reviews

The Best of Fields
7 June 2001 | by rsyungSee all my reviews

I consider this title, along with "It's A Gift", to be the best work of W.C. Fields entire career. He isn't a carnival huckster or a flim-flam man here...no top hat and double breasted suit. He's just a lower middle-class husband dealing with a lazy brother-in-law, shrewish wife and meddlesome mother-in-law. He's a classic case of what we would call today "passive-aggressive", a brow-beaten man who appears to have given up on asserting himself with his family, deferring to everyone around him, but still managing to do what he wants. I only wish he and Kathleen Howard(playing his wife) had done more than two movies together. They play off of each other wonderfully. So many hilarious set-pieces, but the breakfast table scene, with that "delightful verse by Gertrude Smotten," still ranks as my favorite.


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