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The W.C. Fields Comedy Collection: Volume 1 (The Bank Dick/My Little Chickadee/You Can't Cheat an Honest Man/It's a Gift/International House)

W.C. Fields , Edgar Bergen , A. Edward Sutherland , Edward F. Cline    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 69.95
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The W.C. Fields Comedy Collection: Volume 1 (The Bank Dick/My Little Chickadee/You Can't Cheat an Honest Man/It's a Gift/International House) + 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)
Price For Both: CDN$ 94.73


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Product Description

Amazon.ca

For anyone who loves classic comedy, the W.C. Fields Comedy Collection is absolutely essential. Film for film, this may be the best DVD showcase ever devoted to a single comedian, including all five of Fields's acknowledged classics in a sturdy, beautifully designed library-quality slipcase. One could easily lament the relative lack of bonus features (it would have been nice to have some vintage Fields radio shows and newsreel footage), but the inclusion of A&E's 1994 Biography documentary W.C. Fields: Behind the Laughter is sufficiently informative about Fields's life, career, irascible personality, and tragic alcoholism. That's all that's really needed when the films themselves are so timelessly entertaining, and they're all remarkably pristine in sound and image quality. The best way to appreciate Fields's evolving screen persona is to view these films in chronological order: In International House (1933), Fields was merely one of many Paramount stars of screen and radio (including Rudy Vallee, Burns & Allen, Bela Lugosi, Sterling Holloway, and manic bandleader Cab Calloway), but he handily steals the show, invading a Shanghai hotel in his airplane/helicopter and delivering the classic line (to Franklin Pangborn), "Don't let the posy fool ya!" It's one of Paramount's best all-star revues.

It's a Gift (1934) is a remake of Fields's 1926 silent It's the Old Army Game, and was the first sound feature devoted to Fields's inimitable talent. As beleaguered husband and would-be orange farmer, Fields revives vintage routines from Vaudeville and Broadway, and his first encounter with Baby LeRoy is comedy gold. You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939) features Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy and Fields's classic, still-hilarious ping-pong routine, while 1940's My Little Chickadee matches Fields (as "Guthbert J. Twillie") with Mae West, whose unforgettable on-screen banter with Fields shows no sign of their notorious off-screen animosity. In his raucous masterpiece The Bank Dick (also 1940), Fields is "Egbert Souse," lowly bank guard, unlikely hero, and manic driver in perhaps the greatest slapstick car-chase scene ever filmed. Despite the regrettable absence of Fields's final starring feature Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, this classy five-disc set is a veritable cornucopia of comedy, offering ample proof of Fields's comic genius through classic one-liners, physical routines, memorable costars, and perfect bits of business that never grow old. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

W.C. Fields is an American original, the curmudgeonly master of wit and good, mean fun. In this collection of madcap classics, the famously top-hatted Fields unleashes his unique comic zing, proving himself the king of the one-liner. This special DVD collection includes The Bank Dick, My Little Chickadee, You Can't Cheat an Honest Man, It's a Gift and International House. The W.C. Fields Comedy Collection is Fields at his finest, and a must-have for anyone who loves to laugh!

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WC Fields Feb. 17 2009
Format:DVD
I consider WC Fields one of the funniest men that ever performed on the 'silver screen'. His comedy plays on the foibles of human nature without resorting to vulgarity, something that many of today's comedians seem to be incapable of. I can't imagine anyone watching a WC Fields movie and not being moved to laughter at least a few times. I thoroughly enjoyed this compilation of his best known films and I heartily recommend it to anyone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellente Mae West March 21 2012
By jonas
Format:DVD
Avec sa dégaine de loubarde, ses oeillades appuyées et sa silhouette à l'opposé des canons actuels (mais qui avait fait d'elle un sex-symbole de son temps) Mae West peut paraître démodée. Cependant, intelligente, rouée, à la répartie qui fait mouche, sympathique, Mae symbolise la revanche du petit peuple américain sur les aristocrates anglais d'abord et ceux qui, américains, se prétendent plus ou moins en descendre, celle aussi du vrai bon sens contre les conventions et les "bonnes" manières, enfin l'affirmation de la liberté (de ton, d'allure, de conduite dans la vie) par rapport aux standards figés des années 30.Si on les replace dans leur contexte, la plupart de ses films - dont elle écrit la plupart du temps le scénario et les dialogues - ont extrêmement bien vieilli et apparaissent même si décapants, si originaux qu'ils en deviennent "jouissifs". Ce coffret regroupe cinq de ses films les plus célèbres et permet dans de bonnes conditions techniques (excellents transferts, belle présentation, VO sous titrée français) de se familiariser avec une des figures les plus populaires et les plus originales de l'avant guerre américaine.
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Format:VHS Tape
MY LITTLE CHICKADEE was originally released to mixed reviews, but by the 1970s a revival of interest in both W.C. Fields and Mae West sparked renewed attention to the film--and while it is somewhat uneven and does not give us either actor at their best, this single pairing of two of Hollywood's most legendary comics offers enough amusement to keep us watching right through to the end.
By every account available, Fields and West absolutely loathed each other. After Field's death West went to considerable effort to belittle both Fields and his contribution to this film, insisting that she herself wrote the story and the script and Fields was responsible for his personal material only. Ironically, her claims re this are hardly flattering to her talent, for the great weakness of CHICKADEE is the actual story itself, which is remarkable for its lack of imagination: Flower Belle becomes mixed up with an outlaw and is run out of town--and told she can't return until she can prove she is respectably married. The opportunity to do precisely that arrives in the form Cuthbert J. Twillie, an inept con-man who becomes her dupe.
Although uninspired, the plot does have the benefit of allowing both West and Fields to do their own thing both separately and occasionally together--and when it works, it goes off with a bang. Their meeting on the train, their wedding night, and West's unlikely stint as a schoolmarm (teaching the young about figures, of course) are all hilarious bits, and Margaret Hamilton gets in some good moments in the supporting cast. The film only sinks whenever it returns to the storyline of West and her bandit lover--so all in all, although not the best, it is well worth a watch, particularly for Fields and West fans. Recommended, but don't expect too much.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Sad Relic of Mae, a Fine Example of Fields Dec 20 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Mae West was certainly not your classic beauty, but sauntering into Hollywood at the age of 40 (!) she was somehow very attractive, if more in a "just can't take your eyes off" sort of way than one of genuine good looks. She had a saucy charisma and brash femine confidence that made her age and weight oddly desirable, and within the start of her film career a bonafide sex symbol. But by the time of "My Little Chickadee," at 48, it seems her age has finally caught up to her, and she is reduced to making cheap imitations of herself. The magic and allure is all gone, and though she makes a brave attempt at salvaging a last piece of that brazen bombshell of films like "She Done Him Wrong" and "I'm No Angel," her success is poor. What's more her self-confidence has seemed to become a self-centerdness, and she no longer seems to be acting, but standing alone quoting herself. She no longer really reacts to anyone, but is completely self-contained, as if she was the only actor in the whole picture.
But old age, weight, and wrinkles, the things that most dragged down West, only add to the charm of Fields, who turns in a delightful and suitable performance. For Fields, "My Little Chickadee" only helps to better define his screen presence, and at times he would be very funny. I say "would be." Perhaps it is the admirable struggle and fail of a star who could have nearly retired by the time she was just starting out, but the film has an air of sadness that... well, just isn't funny.
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