Directed by Edward F. Cline
Produced by Lester Cowan
Written by Mae West & W.C.Fields
Starring Mae West
Music by Frank Skinner
Cinematography Joseph A. Valentine
Editing by Edward Curtiss
Distributed by Universal
Release date 15 March 1940
Running time 83 min
W. C. Fields and Mae West were two of the sharpest tongues in Hollywood with only Groucho Marx rivalling them for delivering the best one liners and double entendres. Whilst they do get a few great zingers into My Chickadee and there are a few laugh out loud moments, this film feels a bit odd. I think it’s because of the lack of chemistry between Fields and West. Whilst there are rumours of both the stars not liking each other and that they let their egos run rampant, trying to one up each other with the best lines, I don’t think any of this has been truly confirmed. I did read that Mae was a bit unhappy with Fields’ unprofessionalism and how he lived his drunken gimmick, but she still admired his comic abilities.
The film isn’t Fields’ or West’s best but it’s still a damn sight better than most other comedies.
My Little Chickadee is a part of the W.C. Fields Comedy Collection with The Bank Dick, You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man, International House and It’s A Gift. This DVD box set is available from Amazon for $46.99. You can purchase it by clicking here…
Directed by Norman Z. McLeod
Produced by William LeBaron
Written by Jack Cunningham,
Story Charles Bogle (Fields)
Starring W. C. Fields
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date November 17, 1934
Running time 73 min.
It’s A Gift is a really funny W. C. Fields comedy from 1934, and it surprisingly holds up well when viewed with 21st century eyes. It’s A Gift is less well-known than some of Fields’ other films such as The Bank Dick, but there are still a few laughs to be had while watching the film.
In the film Fields plays Harold Bissonette (pronounced Bisonay), a grocery store owner with a nagging wife and two rotten children. After the death of his uncle he decides to sell up his store and more to California to become an orange grower. The plot however is little more than a vehicle for Fields’ gags, many of which he had honed to perfection after years spent on the vaudeville circuit.
I think that the reason why I find the film so humourous is that I can empathise with Fields in some of the situations he finds himself in. Most married men know what it’s like to be nagged by their wife at times, and would find Fields portrayal as a henpecked husband quite amusing. Similarly most of us adults know just how annoying children can be and rather than show them as sweet little angels they are seen here as being the bratty little monsters that some children really are. This is why the gags are so successful for Fields and his henpecked husband character is much funnier to me than the obnoxious, drunken wise ass that he would play in later films. As well as a few good slapstick moments there are some really great one-liners from Fields that had me laughing quite a bit.
It’s A Gift is a part of the W.C. Fields Comedy Collection with The Bank Dick, My Little Chickadee, You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man and International House . This DVD box set is available from Amazon for $46.99. You can purchase it by clicking here…