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The W.C. Fields Comedy Collection: Volume 2 (Poppy/Never Give a Sucker an Even Break/The Old Fashioned Way/You're Telling Me!/Man on the Flying Trapeze)
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Legendary actor and entertainer W.C. Fields is an American comedy treasure - a headliner who always left audiences laughing for more of his sharp-tongued one-liners, slapstick shenanigans and notoriously caustic wit. Now you can catch more of his unique comedic style in five of his most uproarious films: You're Telling Me!, The Old Fashioned Way, Man on the Flying Trapeze, Poppy and Never Give a Sucker an Even Break. Loaded with classic comedy routines, the W.C. Fields Comedy Collection: Volume Two is more of Fields at his finest, proving that the master of the one-liner can still keep fans laughing out loud!
From the Studio
W.C. Fields ...Professor Eustace P. McGargle
Rochelle Hudson ...Poppy McGargle
Richard Cromwell ...Billy Farnsworth
Granville Bates ...Mayor Farnsworth
Catherine Doucet ...Countess Maggie Tubbs DePuizzi
Lynne Overman ...Attorney E.G. Whiffen
Maude Eburne ...Sarah Tucker
Bill Wolfe ...Egmont
Adrian Morris ...Constable Bowman
Rosalind Keith ...Frances Parker
Ralph Remley ...Carnival Manager
Wade Boteler ...Bartender
Dell Henderson ...Bit
Tom Kennedy ...Hot dog vendor
Charles McMurphy ...Bit
Jack Baxley ...Yokel
Jerry Bergen ...Gardener
Cyril Ring ...Yokel
Dewey Robinson ...Calliope Driver
Dick Rush ...Deputy Sheriff
Doc Stone ...Deputy Sheriff
Frank Sully ...Yokel
Harry Wagner ...Yokel
Malcolm Waite ...Deputy Sheriff
Eddy Waller ...Yokel
Tammany Young ...Joe
Grace Goodall ...Gossip
Helen Holmes ...Undetermined Role
Ada Mae Moore ...Snake Charmer
Gertrude Sutton ...Gossip
Never Give a Sucker an Even Break:
W.C. Fields ...The Great Man, W.C. Fields/Uncle Bill
Gloria Jean ...His Niece, Gloria Jean
Leon Errol ...His Rival, Leon Errol
Billy Lenhart ...Heckler
Kenneth Brown ...Heckler
Margaret Dumont ...Mrs. Hemogloben
Susan Miller ...Ouliotta Delight Hemogloben
Franklin Pangborn ...The Producer, Mr. Pangborn
Mona Barrie ...The Producer's Wife, Mrs. Pangborn
Charles Lang ...Peter Carson, the Young Engineer
Anne Nagel ...Madame Gorgeous
Nell O'Day ...Salesgirl
Irving Bacon ...Tom, the Soda Jerk
Jody Gilbert ...The Tiny Waitress
Minerva Urecal ...Mrs. Pastromi, the Cleaning Lady
Emmett Vogan ...Steve Roberts, the Engineer
Carlotta Monti ...Receptionist
Eddie Bruce ...Cameraman
Claud Allister ...Bitten Englishman
William Gould ...Doorman
Frank Austin ...Diner with high blood pressure
Jack 'Tiny' Lipson ...Huge Turk
Charles McMurphy ...Police Officer
Leon Belasco ...Pianist
Victor Potel ...Russian magistrate Clines
Jack Roper ...Joe, the Jamo drinker
Brick Sullivan ...Fire truck driver
Emil Van Horn ...Gargo the gorilla
Michael Visaroff ...Village Coachman
Billy Wayne ...Stage 6 Foreman
Dave Willock ...Assistant Director Johnson
Bill Wolfe ...Aspiring Actor
Duke York ...Tough guy
Kay Deslys ...Mrs. Wilson
Harriette Haddon ...Redhead
Frances Morris ...Nurse
Jean Porter ...Passerby
Marcia Ralston ...Stewardess
Beatrice Roberts ...Undetermined Role
Kathryn Sheldon ...Spinster passenger
Emma Tansey ...Old lady with newspaper
Irene Coleman ...Stewardess
The Old Fashioned Way:
W.C. Fields ...The Great McGonigle/Squire Cribbs in 'The Drunkard'
Joe Morrison ...Wally Livingston/William Dowton in 'The Drunkard'
Baby LeRoy ...Albert Pepperday
Judith Allen ...Betty McGonigle/Agnes Dowton the 'The Drunkard'
Jan Duggan ...Cleopatra Pepperday
Tammany Young ...Marmaduke Gump
Nora Cecil ...Mrs. Wendelschaffer
Jack Mulhall ...Dick Bronson
Samuel Ethridge ...Bartley Neuville/Edward Middleton (The Drunkard) in 'The Drunkard'
Ruth Marion ...Agatha Sprague/Mary Wilson (Play)
Richard Carle ...Barnesville Sheriff
Larry Grenier ...Drover Stevens (Play)
William Blatchford ...Landlord (Play)
Jeffrey Williams ...Arden Renclelaw (Play)
Donald Brown ...The Minister in 'The Drunkard'
Tom Miller ...The Villager in 'The Drunkard'
Davison Clark ...Passenger who loses ticket
Sam Flint ...Kid's father
Oscar Apfel ...Mr. Livingston
Otis Harlan ...Mr. Wendelschaffer
Dell Henderson ...Opera house manager
Lew Kelly ...Sheriff Walter Jones
Edward LeSaint ...Train conductor
Marvin Loback ...Man in audience
Sam McDaniel ...Train porter
Robert McKenzie ...Checkers player
Joseph Mills ...Charles Lowell
Georgie Billings ...Kid in railroad car
Oscar Smith ...Pullman porter
Billy Bletcher ...Tomato thrower
Monte Vandergrift ...Checkers game bystander
Clarence Wilson ...Sheriff Prettywillie
Duke York ...Stagehand on bar set
Adrienne Ames ...Girl in audience
Maxine Elliott Hicks ...Waitress
Dorothy Bay ...Berta (hotel maid)
Emma Ray ...Mother Mack
You're Telling Me!:
W.C. Fields ...Sam Bisbee, Optometrist
Joan Marsh ...Pauline Bisbee
Buster Crabbe ...Bob Murchison
Adrienne Ames ...Princess Lescaboura
Louise Carter ...Mrs. Bessie Bisbee
Kathleen Howard ...Mrs. Edward Quimby Murchison
Tammany Young ...Caddy
Dell Henderson ...Crystal Springs Mayor
James B. 'Pop' Kenton ...Doc Beebe
Robert McKenzie ...Charlie Bogle
Nora Cecil ...Mrs. Price
George Irving ...Mr. Robins, President of National Tire Co.
Hal Craig ...Second Motorcycle Cop
Alfred Delcambre ...Phil Cummings, a party guest
Vernon Dent ...Fat Man in Compartment
Billy Engle ...1st Lounger
Al Hart ...3rd Lounger
Eddie Baker ...First Motorcycle Cop
Edward LeSaint ...Conductor
George MacQuarrie ...Crabbe
Eric Mayne ...Aide to the Princess
Edmund Mortimer ...Businessman
James C. Morton ...Male Gossip
Frank O'Connor ...Cop in Police Car
George Ovey ...2nd Lounger
Lee Phelps ...Cop in Police Car
William Robyns ...Bill, the postman
Harold Berquist ...Doorman
Jerry Stewart ...Frobisher
Frederick Sullivan ...Mr. Edward Quimby Murchison
John M. Sullivan ...Gray
Florence Enright ...Mrs. Kelly
Isabel La Mal ...Rosita
Josephine Whittell ...Bit Part
Elise Cavanna ...Sarah Smith, female gossip
Man on the Flying Trapeze:
W.C. Fields ...Ambrose Wolfinger
Mary Brian ...Hope Wolfinger
Kathleen Howard ...Leona Wolfinger
Grady Sutton ...Claude Neselrode
Vera Lewis ...Mrs. Cordelia Neselrode
Lucien Littlefield ...Mr. Peabody
Oscar Apfel ...President Malloy
Lew Kelly ...Adolph Berg
Tammany Young ...'Willie' the Weasel
Walter Brennan ...'Legs' Garnett
Edward Gargan ...Patrolman #1
James Burke ...Patrolman #2
Carlotta Monti ...Ambrose's secretary
Eddy Chandler ...Motorcycle cop
David Clyde ...J. Farnsworth Wallaby
Heinie Conklin ...Street cleaner
Keith Daniels ...Ticket seller
Harry Ekezian ...Hookalakah Meshobbab
James Flavin ...Henry (chauffeur)
George B. French ...Clerk
Arthur Aylesworth ...Night Court judge
Tor Johnson ...Tosoff (the wrestler)
Robert Littlefield ...Neighbor with correct time
Sam Lufkin ...Ticket taker
Mickey McMasters ...Referee
Charles Morris ...Turnkey
Jack Baxley ...Court officer
Pat O'Malley ...Officer
Mickey Bennett ...Office employee
Lorin Raker ...Ring announcer
Joe Sawyer ...Ambulance driver
Eddie Sturgis ...Bystander at arena gate
Billy Bletcher ...Timekeeper
Albert Taylor ...Clerk
Michael Visaroff ...Homicidal maniac in cell
Harry C. Bradley ...Passing motorist
Helen Dickson ...Miss Dickson
Sarah Edwards ...Motorcar owner
Rosemary Theby ...Helpful passerby
Minerva Urecal ...Italian woman in ambulance
Dorothy Ward ...Information girl
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Top Customer Reviews
First is You're Telling Me(released April/34)finds Fields as an optometrist and inventor by the name of Sam Bisbee.He invents a puncture proof tire,but when he gets an audience with some tire execs,he picks the wrong car to demonstrate on,flattens all its tires,and being a cop car,is forced to flee.On the way home by train he is contemplating suicide by Iodine but decides against it.He mistakenly goes into what he thinks is the bathroom but is the room of a countess.He spies an iodine bottle on her table and says don`t do it,and explains what he almost did.She instantly likes him,talks him up and they part.Next day she comes to town and the previously put down Fields is now on top of the world,thanks to the countess.Also the tire company apparently found the right car tires and has bought his invention.The countess and Fields part,with Fields still oblivious to the fact that she is a real countess.This is about the best of the bunch in this collection.The plot does meander but it shows off Fields famous golf routine and has some heart in it,especially in his attempted suicide and his preventing of the countess` suicide(the iodine for her was there because she cut her finger).Watch for a younger Buster Crabbe as Fields daughters suitor;soon to become famous as Flash Gordon.Tammany Young,as his caddy,was oft used by Fields in alot of his pictures,setting up Fields`vast array of gags.3 1/2-4 stars.
The Old Fashioned Way(released July/34)finds Fields as the Great McGonigle,the head of a third rate performing troupe.Read more ›
These package of movies by W.C. Fields are awesome!
Many hours of pure pleasure.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Man On The Flying Trapeze, Old Fashioned Way and Poppy have never been officially released in any format before so this is just GREAT! All of these movies are superb, this is a MUST BUY for anyone with an interest in old classics (as was the first Field's collection). Some folks questioned the contents of the first collection. I personally liked the choices and now this second collection starts to fill things out very nicely.
Now comes the problem...we absolutely need a third collection, chances are if it happens it would be the last, so how to fill that out? PLEASE don't repeat what's available already, 6 Of a Kind, The Big Broadcast of 1938 and David Copperfield ARE avalable on DVD.
What we desperately need is Mississippi, Tillie And Gus, Her Majesty Love, Million Dollar Legs. I also think Tales Of Manhattan should be included as the VHS is now out of print and Fields part in there is superb. Also, If I Had a Million would be nice.
What else besides those becomes problematic. perhaps a 4th collection of silents, The Old Army Game, Sally Of The Sawdust(uncut)& Running Wild.
Then there's the remaining bit parts movies, I don't think we'll see these in a Fields collection so you hardcore fans will have to watch and see if they come out alone. Alice In Wonderland(1933)(never released), Song Of The Open Road(never released), Sensations Of 1945(available on VHS), Follow The Boys(available on VHS).
Strong sales of this may help a 3rd collection to happen, so buy 1 for yourself, and a few as gifts!
"The Old Fashioned Way" is as good a picture of the bygone days of Vaudeville as exists anywhere, to say nothing of being the only available footage of the great man's cigar box juggling routine. "Poppy" is a comedy milestone with Fields portraying Larson E. Whipsnade, the quintessential carny. The ping pong scene is timeless! "Never Give a Sucker An Even break" is packed with laughs and a great example of how Field's mind went beyond the ordinary bounds of comedies of his era to open the door for later films like "Being John Malkovitch". "You're telling me" has many memorable scenes bringing us to the main event: "Man On The Flying Trapeze". This is quite frankly the most underrated film of his career. I'll never forget The synopsized New York Times review of this film that appeared in the TV pages when I was a kid: "A man besieged and a man to remember!" The older I get the more I relate to Ambrose Woolfinger! The parking ticket scene is the definition of perfect. It still brings tears to my eyes. When he takes a swing at his mother in law, Mrs. Nestlerode, it's not for the faint of heart. A person could literally die laughing! As fate would have it, I happened to watch that film tonight, before I made my weekly check of websites to see if any more Fields was on the way and Lo and Behold I learned that March 20th 2007 is to be a day of celebration.
For far too long, much of Field's greatest work has been conspicuous in it's absence from the marketplace. It's nice to know more of these gems are finally on the way! Now, if we live long enough, we may yet see "Missisippi", "Tillie and Gus", "If I had a Million", "Million Dollar legs", The Old Army Game and "Six Of a Kind" (Though available on Burns & Allen Collections) & "The Big Broadcast of 1938" (Bob Hope Collection) as well as Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch", "Sensations" & other missing Fields films, available on future DVD collections as well.
Saving the world will take more than reversing global warming. It will take reversing mediocrity In art as well as politics! A good start is making available entertainment where wit, physical dexterity and clever use of language rules, as opposed to the overhyped tripe Hollywood routinely serves up to a mass audience it perceives, perhaps correctly, (Though I choose not to believe it), as being thick, uneducated and disinterested in anything filmed in glorious Black and White!
I say: "A thing worth having is worth waiting for! Hope springs eternal! Build it and they will come!"
These films are national treasures. Watch often, laugh hard and live longer!
Sincerely, Henry Gross
THE MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE (1935) -
Ambrose Wolfinger wants the afternoon off (his first in twenty-five years) to go to a wrestling match. He tells his boss that he must attend his mother-in-law's funeral. The afternoon is no joy. He tries to please a policeman, assist a chauffeur, chase a tire, and ends up getting hit by the body of a wrestler thrown from the ring. A series of mishaps leads his boss to send floral tributes to the house and notify the papers of the death (due to poisoned liquor). His shrewish wife, judgmental mother-in-law, and good-for-nothing brother-in-law add to his burdens. In the end he enjoys their fawning loyalty, a raise in pay, and his first vacation.
NEVER GIVE A SUCKER AN EVEN BREAK (1941) -
Fields wants to sell a film story to Esoteric Studios. On the way he gets insulted by little boys, beat up for ogling a woman, and abused by a waitress. He becomes his niece's guardian when her mother is killed in a trapeze fall during the making of a circus movie. He and his niece, who he finds at a shooting gallery, fly to Mexico to sell wooden nutmegs in a Russian colony. Trying to catch his bottle as it falls from the plane, he lands on a mountain peak where lives the man- eating Mrs. Hemogloben. When he gets to the Russian colony he finds Leon Errol (father of the insulting boys and owner of the shooting gallery) already selling wooden nutmegs. He decides to woo the wealthy Mrs. Hemogloben but when he gets there Errol has preceded him. The Mexican adventure is the story that Esoteric Studios would not buy.
YOU'RE TELLING ME (1934) -
Sam Bisbee is an inventor whose works (e.g., a keyhole finder for drunks) have brought him only poverty. His daughter is in love with the son of the town snob. Events conspire to ruin his bullet-proof tire just as success seems near. Another of his inventions prohibits him from committing suicide, so Sam decides to go on living..
THE OLD FASHIONED WAY (1934) -
The Great McGonigle's traveling theatrical troupe are staying at a boarding house. They are preparing to put on a production of "The Drunkard" (and do so during this movie). Cleopatra Pepperday puts up money for the show provided she can have a part ("Here comes the prince!"). Little Albert Wendelschaffer torments McGonigle all through lunch ("How can you hurt a watch by dipping it in molasses?"). In spite of being pursued by several sheriffs, McGonigle is able to keep going and see his daughter Betty happily married.
POPPY (1936) -
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.
This set is shaping up to be every bit as fine as first one released in 2004. Not expecting it to be heavily laden with extras, this is Universal we're dealing with. Likely to be superb prints but even Volume One only had trailers and a documentary.
The scene where Fields trips, crashes through the door and down the cellar stairs, shoots himself in the posterior, pulls from under him a piece of wood with a ridiculously long nail in it, and utters "Drat", is usually enough to get the job done for good. Just thinking about it, I am having a difficult time restraining my laughter as I type.
The movie was never one of his most popular, but it is riddled with small and incredibly funny gags. His constant "brushing his teeth", the dialog with his shrew of a wife (hideously played by Kathleen Howard, in a role that she more or less reprised a few times with Fields) regarding a late night wrong number, Fields's comment on hearing burglars singing in his cellar ("Oh, what rotten voices"), his subsequent joining in with the singing burglars (one of them played by a very young Walter Brennan), and his following appearance in court are incredibly well crafted. I think that this flick may be the best example of the Fields wit, but you have to pay close attention to the movie to really pick up on it. His expressions and under-the-breath comments are truly one-of-a-kind, and turn him into more than just a cliche.
"The Old Fashioned Way" is another great example of a Fields vehicle that never quite got the attention it deserved. Probably most famous for a kick that the Great Man delivers to Baby LeRoy, it is also filled with great little scenes that show off W.C.'s versatility. The play, his juggling, his throw away lines all make this a very entertaining entry. Keep an eye open for a truly great supporting role by Jan Duggan as "Cleopatra Pepperday".
Never Give a Sucker an Even Break and You're Telling Me are both amusing,
but were never at the very top of my Fields list (although the scene in YTM where he shoots the tires on the police car is pretty darned funny).
Poppy is one that, I have a hard time believing myself, I've never seen. I've read some pretty good things about it, so I'm looking forward to the viewing.
All in all, I am much, much happier this afternoon than I was this morning, thanks to finding this announcement!
I love all five of these W.C.Fields movies, starting with YOU'RE TELLING ME! (1934). Henpecked husband and inventor Sam Bisbee has bad luck with inventions like a puncture-proof tire. On a train out of town, he is saved from suicide by a princess (Adrienne Ames in a lovely performance) who wants to be an ordinary person. So she inroduces herself to Sam as "Marie" and becomes his friend. Watch the reaction when Marie wants to meet Sam's family and town who hate him. And watch a hysterically funny golf game; it takes ten minutes with fussing around and a pesky caddy (Tammany Young) to leave the first hole. This is a 67 minute masterpiece.
THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY (1934) has Fields as The Great McGonigle, leader of a vaudeville troupe back in 1880's small town America. Much of the action takes place in a boarding house with unpaid bills (and includes memorable work by Baby LeRoy), and The Great McGonigle gets to swindle a lot of unsuspecting people at a carnival setting. Great fun.
These are short films, about 70 minutes each; I was double-billing them. MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE(1935) is a 65 minute comedy masterpiece with Fields as henpecked (as always) Ambrose Wolfinger, a hardworking businessman. Poor W.C. lies about the death of a loathsome mother-in-law so that he can have a rare afternoon off to go to a big wrestling match. Before the day is over, he may wish said mother-in-law really WAS dead when the house is filled with condolence flowers. This is the movie where Ambrose manages to get FOUR traffic tickets simultaneously; you have to see it to believe it.
POPPY (1936) is a sweet and funny sound remake of a W.C. Fields silent gem called SALLY OF THE SAWDUST (1925). I like POPPY a bit more because Fields' Professor Eustace McGargle is nicer, and Rochelle Hudson is wonderful in a starring role as his daughter Poppy. McGargle is an epic con man and master card shark who wants to have Poppy marry a millionaire and be happy. There is a skillful dose of poignancy mixed in with humor here. It is a lovely and funny movie.
Finally, we have the incomparable NEVER GIVE A SUCKER AN EVEN BREAK (1941), with Fields playing himself and pretty ingenue actress Gloria Jean as herself and his niece. Fields has a looney screenplay he wants Franklin Pangborn (also playing himself) of Esoteric Studios to buy. As Pangborn reads the script in his office with Fields, we see the deranged comedy script dramatized--on an airplane with Gloria Jean, Fields jumps out a window to retrieve a whiskey bottle. He lands at a mountaintop estate of Margaret Dumont, a virgin daughter who wants to play "post office", and a pet gorilla. One look at Dumont sends Fields diving off a terrace and descending 2,000 feet in a basket. But Leon Errol, a Russian addicted to goat's milk, has stories of Dumont being a millionairess. So, to make Gloria Jean happy and wealthy, Fields decides to woo Dumont. The climax is one of the American sound cinema's greatest car chases. This surrealistic comedy is a neglected masterpiece that has improved with age.
If you love W.C. Fields, this second boxed set is better than the first, with true Fields movies and really good ones in crystal-clear knockout studio prints. If you are not familiar with his anti-social and henpecked con man persona, W.C. FIELDS COMEDY COLLECTION: VOLUME TWO is one you should add to your collection to get acquainted with the comedy master. Now if only we can have a Volume Three with some Fields silent films and the incomparable TILLIE AND GUS (1933). And more bonus material.