The Bank Dick

Overview

The matchless W.C. Fields plays Egbert Souse, a bibulous denizen of Lompoc who supports his family by winning radio contests. While drinking his breakfast at the Black Pussy Cafe, Souse is invited by a nervous movie production manager (Dick Purcell) to finish directing a picture being shot in Lompoc (the nominal director is three sheets to the wind). Later that same day, a fleeing bank robber is knocked cold when he trips over the park bench where Egbert sits. Hailed as a hero, Souse is offered the job of bank ...
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Overview

The matchless W.C. Fields plays Egbert Souse, a bibulous denizen of Lompoc who supports his family by winning radio contests. While drinking his breakfast at the Black Pussy Cafe, Souse is invited by a nervous movie production manager (Dick Purcell) to finish directing a picture being shot in Lompoc (the nominal director is three sheets to the wind). Later that same day, a fleeing bank robber is knocked cold when he trips over the park bench where Egbert sits. Hailed as a hero, Souse is offered the job of bank guard. The next day, Souse is approached by one J. Frothingham Waterbury (Russell Hicks), who offers to sell Egbert shares in the Beefsteak Mines. Souse raises the necessary money by convincing bank clerk Og Oggilby (Grady Sutton), the fiance of Egbert's daughter Myrtle (Una Merkel), to "borrow" some funds from the bank; it isn't really embezzling, explains Egbert, because the mine is bound to pay off. Unfortunately, bank examiner J. Pinkerton Snoopington (Franklin Pangborn) comes calling, obliging Souse to slip the hapless examiner a "Michael Finn," rendering the poor man deathly ill. When the green-around-the-gills Snoopington persists in his examination, all seems lost--but the Beefsteak Mine pays off, and Souse is able to replace the money without being found out. And there's more! Another bank robber commits another heist, taking Souse hostage and forcing the timorous "bank dick" to drive the getaway car. After a wild slapstick chase, the robber is glad to be caught, and Souse is given a huge reward. And there's MORE!!! The production manager from Reel One pops up out of nowhere to offer Souse an exorbitant sum for the "screenplay" that Egbert had improvised during his single day as a movie director! The Bank Dick is 72 minutes of pure, unadulterated W. C. Fields, right down to the screenplay credit for "Mahatma Kane Jeeves." Don't miss this one!
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Special Features

[None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Throughout his career, W. C. Fields made a habit of thumbing his bulbous nose at polite society, but never more effectively than in The Bank Dick, a gleefully subversive comedy that most aficionados regard as his finest. Fields, who wrote the screenplay under the name "Mahatma Kane Jeeves," plays henpecked husband Egbert Souse pronounced "Soo-zay," he reminds, an acid-tongued tippler who accidentally foils a bank robbery. He's rewarded with the job of bank detective, and in turn, makes prospective son-in-law Grady Sutton a reluctant embezzler, derails an investigation by a prissy bank examiner, foils another robbery, and is even hired to play himself in a movie! Characteristically, Fields rattles off an unending string of pithy one-liners, but he also exhibits peerless skill in the art of pantomime, which helped make him a headliner in vaudeville stage shows and silent movies. In short, The Bank Dick showcases this treasured performer at his acerbic best.
All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
The Bank Dick is perhaps W.C. Fields' best movie. Despite a scant 72-minute running time, it breezes through enough plot for ten lesser films, managing to build and double back on itself to a satisfying conclusion. The humor is both physical and intellectual. Fields was among the innovators of early sound films in using contemporary cultural references; yet the movie is not so tied to its era that its references have become obscure. As Fields' style of quick-witted humor grew, the popularity of such low-brow comedians as El Brendel fell. There's a nice supporting performance from Shemp Howard, but the film belongs to Fields.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/22/2000
  • UPC: 715515010627
  • Original Release: 1940
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan / Black & White / Mono
  • Sound: monaural
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:12:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
W.C. Fields Egbert Sousé
Cora Witherspoon Agatha Sousé
Una Merkel Myrtle Sousé
Jessie Ralph Mrs. Hermisillo Brunch
Evelyn del Rio Elsie Mae Adele Brunch Sousé
Franklin Pangborn J. Pinkerton Snoopington
Grady Sutton Og Oggilby
Shemp Howard Joe Guelpe
Russell Hicks J. Frothingham Waterbury
Pierre Watkin Mr. Skinner
Al Hill Repulsive Rogan, Filthy McNasty
George Moran Loudmouth McNasty, Cozy Cochran
Bill Wolfe Otis
Jack Norton A. Pismo Clam
Pat West Assistant Director
Reed Hadley François, leading man
Heather Wilde Miss Plupp
Harlan Briggs Doctor Stall
Eddie Acuff Reporter
Lowden Adams Francois' valet
Vangie Beilby Old lady with dog
Nora Cecil Ladies Auxiliary
Jack Clifford Cop
Jan Duggan Woman in Bank
Eddie Dunn James, the Chauffeur
Mary Field Woman
Fay Holderness Lady passerby
Bobby Larson Boy in Bank
Billy Mitchell Black Bank Customer
Patsy Moran Lady with fruit hat
Joe North Butler
Pat O'Malley Cop
David Oliver Straw-hatted teller
Dick Purcell Mackley Q. Greene
Margaret Seddon Old lady in car
Charles Sullivan Driver
Kay Sutton Young Woman on Bench
Emma Tansey Old woman on bench
Frankie Van Director's helper
Dorothy Vernon Old lady
Emmett Vogan Hotel Desk Clerk
Max Wagner Shirtless ditchdigger
Technical Credits
Edward F. Cline Director
Mahatma Kane Jeeves Screenwriter
Arthur D. Hilton Editor
Milton Krasner Cinematographer
Jack Otterson Art Director
Charles Previn Score Composer
Richard H. Riedel Production Designer
Vera West Costumes/Costume Designer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Side #1 --
0. Chapters
1. Logos/ Credits [1:39]
2. The happy family [4:35]
3. The Black Pussy Cat [3:42]
4. Sousé on set [5:30]
5. An unlikely hero [4:16]
6. Bringing home the news [3:02]
7. The bank dick [4:42]
8. Beefsteak Mines [4:40]
9. "Take a chance!" [3:33]
10. The bank examiner [2:28]
11. Og confesses [1:57]
12. Back at The Black Pussy Cat [4:46]
13. Unwell at the hotel [3:28]
14. Visit from the doctor [3:38]
15. "I'm a very sick man" [4:07]
16. Examining the books [3:23]
17. A bonanza! [3:43]
18. The big chase [6:24]
19. A changed man [2:26]
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