6.8/10
2,521
38 user 22 critic

My Little Chickadee (1940)

Passed | | Comedy, Western | 15 March 1940 (USA)
After a scandal runs a gold-digger out of town, she meets a con artist and becomes embroiled in a string of petty deceits.

Director:

Edward F. Cline

Writers:

Mae West (original screen play), W.C. Fields (original screen play)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Mae West ... Flower Belle Lee
W.C. Fields ... Cuthbert J. Twillie
Joseph Calleia ... Jeff Badger
Dick Foran ... Wayne Carter
Ruth Donnelly ... Aunt Lou
Margaret Hamilton ... Mrs. Gideon
Donald Meek ... Amos Budge
Fuzzy Knight ... Cousin Zeb
Willard Robertson ... Uncle John
George Moran George Moran ... Milton
Jackie Searl ... Boy (as Jack Searl)
Fay Adler Fay Adler ... Mrs. 'Pygmy' Allen
Gene Austin ... Saloon Musician
Russell Hall Russell Hall ... Candy (as 'Candy')
Otto Heimel Otto Heimel ... Coco (as 'Coco')
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Storyline

Rightly suspected of illicit relations with the Masked Bandit, Flower Belle Lee is run out of Little Bend. On the train she meets con man Cuthbert J. Twillie and pretends to marry him for "respectability." Arrived in Greasewood City with his unkissed bride, Twillie is named sheriff by town boss Jeff Badger...with an ulterior motive. Meanwhile, both stars inimitably display their specialties, as Twillie tends bar and plays cards, and Flower Belle tames the town's rowdy schoolboys... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

...THE BELLE OF THE BADLANDS and HER ROOTIN'-TOOTIN' ROMEO! (original print media ad - mostly caps) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the scene that Cuthbert pretends to have a telegram so he can get into Flower Belle's room, she tells him to "shove it under the door." W.C. Fields kept changing his next line until Mae West got so frustrated that she finally gave her line as "shove it ... under the door." See more »

Goofs

Near the end, Flower Belle is going up the stairs and her wedding ring is visible on her hand underneath her gloves. Then at the top of the stairs, she goes to give Cuthbert the ring back and it is in her purse. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Stagecoach driver: [the masked bandit shoots a gun, forcing the stagecoach to stop] Whoa, hup! Whoa!
Masked Bandit: Drop those guns.
[the driver and his partner throw their guns to the ground and put their hands up]
Masked Bandit: Everybody get out.
[the passengers leave the stagecoach]
Masked Bandit: Do not try anything and nobody will get hurt.
Stagecoach driver: He said to come out, Miss Flower Belle.
Flower Belle Lee: Well, I got nothing he wants.
Masked Bandit: I will be the judge of that. Come out, or I will have to kill all these nice people.
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The title, 'The End', is superimposed over Mae West's gluteus maximus as she walks away from the camera. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Mouth 2 (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Willie of the Valley
Lyrics by Milton Drake
Music by Ben Oakland
Performed by Mae West
See more »

User Reviews

 
High Concept
23 April 2008 | by thurberdrawingSee all my reviews

I believe that, some time in the 1970's, more than thirty years after MY LITTLE CHICKADEE was made, the term "high concept" was coined. So, starting in the seventies, a lot of movies with sure-fire ideas became the trend. ("What?", someone, circa 1990 might say, "Arnold Schwarzenegger is being teamed with Danny DeVito? Why, that must be hilarious!") So, clearly, somebody thought the idea of W.C. Fields and Mae West sharing the silver screen would work, and MY LITTLE CHICKADEE remains the ultimate example of both the pitfalls and the merits of High Concept movie-making. Fields and West, both iconic figures, were actually so similar that the audience's loyalties are torn. We watch a West picture to observe Mae West turn the tables on men and we watch a Fields picture to watch Fields flout authority. When Fields and West meet and appear to like each other (he wanting sex and she wanting money) we love them both. Fields gets off one of his most memorable lines as he holds her fingers up to his lips and says, "What symmetrical digits.") She, in turn, throws her false submission at him, letting us know between the lines that she's a woman of steel. So far, so good. Their romance is viewed suspiciously by a character actress who is the perfect foil for both of them: Margaret Hamilton, who, of course, played the Wicked Witch of the West the year before in THE WIZARD OF OZ. Fields and West are married aboard the train by West's con-man friend -- hence, they are not really being married -- and this actor is also the sort of figure who belongs in a movie with either Fields or West. But let's cut to the chase. Both Fields and West have separate moments for the rest of the movie and each of these moments is somewhat minimal. West's scene teaching a classroom of overgrown adolescents seems to be a whitewashing of a bawdy routine from her stage days. It almost makes it. Fields's various encounters with gamblers and a female drunk (who HAS to be Celeste Holm, uncredited, as someone else on this board has noted) are promising, but somehow never really engaging. Thinking about this movie, nevertheless, brings a smile to the face. There are so many little things which, popping into the memory, are funny, that it has to be acknowledged that MY LITTLE CHICKADEE achieved its goal: driving into our minds the idea of the harmony of two comics who'd made audiences howl with laughter in live performance twenty years earlier. It should also be said that the ideal audience for MY LITTLE CHICKADEE is an audience in a darkened movie theatre. Ideally, the year should be the year it was made and the audience should be made up of people who've been anticipating this pairing and would be more than willing to hoot throughout. Has anybody got a time machine?


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 March 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lady and the Bandit 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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