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My Little Chickadee (1940)

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 "... See full summary »

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')
Edit

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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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
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

W.C. Fields walked off the set over what director Edward F. Cline felt was a minor disagreement, but when it was clear after two weeks that he was not coming back to finish the film, nearly one-third was shot using a double. The double used is unknown. It could have been John Sinclair, who had doubled for him in Poppy (1936), or David Sharpe, who was his stunt double in later films. The double wore a plastic mask and most of the shots were long shots. See more »

Goofs

When the 'train' stops to pick up the Fields character it consists of the locomotive only. The carriages then reappear in the next scene. 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.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in The Great Man: W.C. Fields (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Persischer Marsch (Persian March), Op. 289
Music by Johann Strauss
[Played during Flower Belle's and Twillie's arrival at the hotel in Greasewood.]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Some Definite Pear-Shaped Ideas"
27 November 2002 | by telegonusSee all my reviews

My Little Chickadee is like a home movie W.C. Fields and Mae West just happened to make in their spare time, on the studio lot, back in 1940. The budget was not as ample as Miss West's er, well anyway, it's a pretty big picture but not that big. The dialogue is better than the film, which is frankly an amateurish mess. Both stars were past their prime when they made this western parody, and both seem a little tired, in general, and with one another, in their scenes together. They're much better when reciting the dialogue, which they worked on together (ah, to have been a fly on the wall during their script conferences). Maybe they spent all their energy on the writing. There certainly isn't much in their performing. For all its flaws, the movie has some hilarious moments, such as Fields' suggestion that he has "some definite pear-shaped ideas" he would like to discuss with Miss West.

Movie censorship was at its peak when this one was made. Fields and West had been two of the shining lights of early talkies, and the advent of the Production Code in the mid-thirties set them both back professionally, especially Miss West, who was the prime cause of it. Since they couldn't quite give this movie their all, due to the extreme censorship of the time, one has to continually read between the lines. There's a lot there, though not as much as I think they imagined there was. The film is an heroic effort none the less, if by today's standards rather quaint.


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