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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

Taglines:

Come to the crowning of America's comedy King! (Print Ad- Daily Times, ((Rochester Penna.)) 5 October 1935)

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mr Wolfinger's secretary is played by Carlotta Monti, who in real life was the mistress of W.C. Fields. See more »

Goofs

Fields falls to the bottom of his cellar stairs ending up sitting on a revolver. He removes and raises the revolver with his right hand and switches it to his left hand. In the next shot the revolver is back in his right hand. 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.
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Connections

Referenced in The Great Man: W.C. Fields (2005) 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
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User Reviews

 
Another W.C. Fields Classic Comedy
8 September 2001 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

Ambrose Wolfinger, memory expert & severely henpecked husband, sometimes feels like he's going to lose his grasp on life and fall into very deep trouble - kind of like that old MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE.

W.C. Fields was at a lofty point in his career when he appeared in this hilarious little comedy. The second highest paid star at Paramount - only Mae West received more - he had just returned from MGM where he was featured as Wilkins Micawber in the all-star version of DAVID COPPERFIELD. Ill health would soon begin to stalk him again as a result of his dipsomania, but here he was wonderfully whimsical, whether dealing with spiteful in-laws, bullying traffic cops or bungling burglars in the cellar. With a handful of performances like this, Fields was to take permanent possession of a unique place in American film history.

Playing the two she-dragons Fields must face & fight are Kathleen Howard as his wife, and elderly Vera Lewis as her mother. Both excellent actresses, their scenes are waspish & wickedly funny and it is easy to see how together they could drive a normal male to distraction. It is unfortunate that these two skilled ladies are now nearly forgotten.

Grady Sutton is well cast as Fields' indolent, pouting brother-in-law; his comeuppance is richly deserved. That's Walter Brennan & Tammany Young as the crooning crooks who find themselves far from the banks of the Wabash.

It is interesting to note that the two women in the film who vigorously defend Fields also had close relationships with him outside the Studio. Mary Brian, as his daughter, was a longtime friend & neighbor of Fields. They had appeared together in the silent version of the story - RUNNING WILD - and Fields insisted on her inclusion in the talkie remake. Carlotta Monti, as Fields' faithful secretary, was also his longtime mistress. A part of his life for many years, she was at his side when he died on Christmas Day, 1946.


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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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