It's about time these films are available on DVD. They are long overdue!
"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