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Poppy, daughter of carnival medicine salesman Professor McGargle, falls in love with the Mayor's son. Countess Maggie Tubbs DePuizzi is claimant to the Putnam estates, but McGargle and lawyer Wiffen plot to make Poppy claim the fortune. Wiffen and the Countess double-cross the Professor, but kindly Sarah Tucker notices a resemble between Poppy and the deceased Mrs. Putnam. It turns out that McGargle adopted the girl, she is the rightful heir, the purported Countess is only a showgirl, and every one has a happy ending.Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
POPPY is an atypical W. C. Fields film even though this was the second time he filmed the story (earlier it was the 1925 D. W. Griffith silent SALLY OF THE SAWDUST with Carol Dempster and Alfred Lunt as the young lovers). This gentle little comedy/drama, originally a turn of the century stage melodrama, casts Fields as a carnival con man with an 18-year-old daughter Poppy (Rochelle Hudson). While in a small town, Hudson falls in love with the mayor's son (Richard Cromwell) and Fields, thought to be a distinguished lecturer, attracts the attention of the presumably wealthy Madame DePuizzi ("Madame DePussy" according to Fields!!) deliciously played by Catherine Doucet. Seems the Mme. is quite a con herself - she is only a presumed heiress, being the former mistress of a now deceased wealthy man of the town whose only actual heir, a daughter mysteriously disappeared twenty years ago. Fields with the help of shady attorney Lynne Overman concocts a story that he is the widower of the daughter, making his own daughter the heiress of the estate. Meanwhile Mme. "dePussy" starts to show her claws and is in cahoots with Cromwell's old girlfriend and others to shame Hudson for her carnival background and disprove Field's claims.
The atmosphere for this 1880's tale is quite charming and effective and there are several wonderful Fields comic bits, particularly his barter of a "talking dog" although I found his croquette travesty a misfire that didn't work. His performance is top notch however and the charming young Hudson and the equally adorable Cromwell are very appealing. Maude Eburne stands out among the supporting cast in a delightful role as a local matron who takes an interest in Rochelle and becomes her only friend in town. POPPY is perhaps a bit too genteel for W.C.'s biggest fans who like him best in a wild comedy but it's still a pleasing and successful albeit modest picture.
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