7.2/10
6,540
62 user 34 critic

The Bank Dick (1940)

Not Rated | | Comedy | 29 November 1940 (USA)
Henpecked Egbert Sousé has comic adventures as a substitute film director and unlikely bank guard.

Director:

Edward F. Cline (as Edward Cline)

Writer:

W.C. Fields (original screen play) (as Mahatma Kane Jeeves)
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
W.C. Fields ... Egbert Sousé
Cora Witherspoon ... Agatha Sousé
Una Merkel ... Myrtle Sousé
Evelyn Del Rio Evelyn Del Rio ... Elsie Mae Adele Brunch Sousé
Jessie Ralph ... Mrs. Hermisillo Brunch
Franklin Pangborn ... J. Pinkerton Snoopington
Shemp Howard ... Joe Guelpe
Dick Purcell ... Mackley Q. Greene (as Richard Purcell)
Grady Sutton ... Og Oggilby
Russell Hicks ... J. Frothingham Waterbury
Pierre Watkin ... Mr. Skinner
Al Hill ... Filthy McNasty - aka Rupulsive Rogan
George Moran George Moran ... Cozy Cochran - aka Loudmouth Nasty
Bill Wolfe Bill Wolfe ... Otis
Jack Norton ... A. Pismo Clam
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Storyline

Egbert Sousé leads an ordinary life but is about to have an extraordinary day. Henpecked at home home by his demanding wife Agatha and more or less ignored by his daughter Myrtle, he sets off for the day. He comes across a movie shoot whose drunken director hasn't shown up for work and Egbert, saying he has experience, is hired. Afterward, he gets credit for stopping bank robbers and is rewarded with a job as the bank guard. He seems headed for trouble however when he convinces his son-in-law Og, a teller at the same bank, to use $500 for can't lose investment. The investment is a scam however and when the bank examiner arrives, it looks bad for them. As you would expect however, it all turns out well in the end. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Was His Face Red . . . And His Nose, Too ! when the bandits took the money . . . and the SAFE !

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Premiere" Magazine voted this movie as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time" in 2006. See more »

Goofs

Wires are visible when the workmen are thrown from the ditch they are digging by the police motorcycle. See more »

Quotes

Og Oggilby: Oh... I knew this would happen! I was a perfect idiot to ever listen to you!
Egbert Sousé: You listen to me, Og! There's nothing in this world that is perfect.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rugrats: Let There Be Light/The Bank Trick (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Listen to the Mockingbird
(1855) (uncredited)
Music by Richard Milburn
Whistled by Shemp Howard
See more »

User Reviews

 
The Accidental Hero
29 September 2005 | by lugonianSee all my reviews

THE BANK DICK (Universal, 1940), directed by Edward Cline, from an original story and screenplay by Mahatma Kane Jeeves, better known as W.C. Fields, stars none other than W.C. Fields in his third of four comedies for Universal, a classic in the sense of it becoming his most famous and admired works next to IT'S A GIFT (Paramount, 1934). Unlike YOU CAN CHEAT AN HONEST MAN (1939) where Fields loses screen time in favor with a ventriloquist act of Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy; MY LITTLE CHICKADEE (1940) in which he divides his time with Mae West; and NEVER GIVE A SUCKER AN EVEN BREAK (1941) where he steps aside in favor for the singing of the teen-age Gloria Jean, THE BANK DICK is pure Fields from start to finish. As the head of a household of a dysfunctional family, with Fields playing the henpecked husband on screen for the last time, the supporting players consists of a fine assortment of character actors who can be just as funny as Fields himself and not draw attention away from him.

As for the story, set in the town of Lompoc, the focus obviously is on Egbert Souse, accent over the final "E" (W.C. Fields), an unemployed husband who spends much of his leisure time smoking cigarettes and hanging around the local bar, The Black Pussy Cat Cafe, as well as coping with Agatha, his wife, (Cora Witherspoon), Mrs. Hermisillo Brunch, his mother-in-law (Jessie Ralph), Myrtle, his adult daughter, (Una Merkel) and Elsie Mae Adele Brunch, the obnoxious youngster, (Evelyn Del Rio). Of the members in his family, only Myrtle, his eldest, understands him. Aside from being a character herself, she's in love with the hayseed Og Oggilby (Grady Sutton), a bank teller who later encounters a couple of robbers at his window and forced to hand over a large sum of money at a point of a gun. When their getaway car is taken away, the crooks make a run for it. Chased by the police, one gets away while the other is found by Souse seated on a bench nearby, making him a hero for "capturing the crook." In gratitude Souse is awarded a job as a special officer by Mr. Skinner (Pierre Watkin), the bank president. In order for Oggilby to earn enough money to marry Myrtle, Souse arranges for him to invest the bank's money on Beefstake Mines Stock, which finds Souse spending much time preventing the visiting bank examiner (Franklin Pangborn) from looking over the books to find a shortage. More complications occur when the bank gets robbed again with Souse being forced to take the driver's seat in another exciting car chase from the police.

Supporting players enacting under oddball names include Shemp Howard (Joe Guelpe, the bartender whose whistle to "Listen to the Mockingbird" entices Souse to follow him to the bar); Richard Purcell (Mackley Q. Greene); Russell Hicks (J. Frothingham Waterbury); Jack Norton (A. Pismo Clam); Bill Wolfe (Otis), with Jan Duggan, another favorite of the Fields stock players, once again doing a funny bit in a wonderful cameo set in the bank. While Al Hill is credited as Filthy McNasty in the credits, he is called Repulsive Rogan in the final story. As for the support provided by the diversified Una Merkel, her performance is unlike the assortment of starlets, ranging from Mary Brian, Judith Allen or Constance Moore as Fields' daughters playing their roles in a more serious-minded and caring fashion. Merkel provides her role with comic flare and free-spirit. She and and Grady Sutton (in his final Fields comedy) certainly make a perfect odd couple.

THE BANK DICK may have some flaws, such as having the audience accept the middle-aged Fields and Cora Witherspoon as parents to a minor child while physically they pass more as grandparents. However, overlooking such minor details, highlights include Souse filling in for a drunken director (Norton) of Tel-Avis Picture Productions, a movie company filming on location; Sousé getting the bank examiner (Pangborn) ill on a "Michael Finn" drinks in order to keep him from examining the books; the climatic car chase; and bank president Mr. Skinner on two separate occasions giving Sousé the "hearty hand clasp" in which Skinner's fingers barely touches Souse's outstretched palm heightened by going to a split-second freeze-frame. While the attention is focused more on Souses' outside activities than on his domestic affairs, one cannot ignore the underscoring to "There's No Place Like Home" used during each opening scene at the Souse household.

THE BANK DICK, along with MY LITTLE CHICKADEE, became the first of Fields' comedies to be distributed on cassette during the early days of home video in the 1980s. Other than frequent revivals on commercial television prior to 1990, THE BANK DICK assured popularity to a new generation when shifted over to cable stations as American Movie Classics (1995-1999), and later Turner Classic Movies since 2001.

Fields' fourth and final starring role for Universal being NEVER GIVE A SUCKER AN EVEN BREAK (1941) not only reunites him with Franklin Pangborn, but opens and closes with the same underscoring from THE BANK DICK. It even has an in-joke of Fields, playing himself, standing in front of a billboard advertisement which reads "W.C. Fields in THE BANK DICK." Because of these similarities, these both Fields comedies make logical choices as double features whether on television or a DVD package. As THE BANK DICK is a fun movie, it's kind of sad in a way watching W.C. Fields, older and heavier, in what's to become the final phase to his long career. All good things come to an end but the legend of Fields and his movies lives on. (***)


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 November 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Great Man See more »

Filming Locations:

Lompoc, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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