W. C. Fields Comedy Collection

W. C. Fields Comedy Collection

4.0 7
Director: Edward F. Cline, Edward Sutherland, Norman Z. McLeod

Cast: Edward F. Cline, Edward Sutherland, Norman Z. McLeod, W.C. Fields

     
 
Apart from The Criterion Collection's release of The Bank Dick, W. C. Fields' feature films haven't had a very distinguished history on DVD, until this release. Most of his best known movies are here, including the single best movie he ever made, It's A Gift (1934). The full-screen (1.33-to-1) transfers are excellent, far better than the movies looked in

Overview

Apart from The Criterion Collection's release of The Bank Dick, W. C. Fields' feature films haven't had a very distinguished history on DVD, until this release. Most of his best known movies are here, including the single best movie he ever made, It's A Gift (1934). The full-screen (1.33-to-1) transfers are excellent, far better than the movies looked in any of their laserdisc editions of the 1980's, and the set is worthwhile on that basis alone. The sound is sharp, too, though the volume isn't set quite as high as it might be, but that's fixed easily enough. None of the movies comes with a commentary track, sad to say -- It's A Gift sort of begs for it -- but there is a biographical special, W.C. Fields: Behind The Laughter, from the series Biography, narrated by Peter Graves, which delves deeply into Fields' personal and prefessional life. The documentary is often sad but just as fascinating as it is often -- forgive the expression -- sobering, and well worth seeing and owning. Each disc opens automatically to a simple on-screen menu, which offers chapter access and has the "play" option in the default position.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
A unique performer who enjoyed a successful stage career before turning to the movies, W. C. Fields was unlike any other screen comedian. He always played characters with the same traits: caustic, cynical, sarcastic, skeptical, and generally unpleasant. He almost always exhibited a fondness for the grape, a disdain for authority, and a dislike of children. Fields was the one movie madcap who could get away with kicking a toddler in the seat of his diapers. Unsurpassed in the dry delivery of dialogue and the employment of comic “takes” (reactions), he was also unusually nimble, thanks to his early career as a juggler, and incorporated this skill into eye-popping bits -- usually just throwaways -- that focused on his dexterity. This five-movie collection represents Fields at his very best; indeed, each film in the quintet is a recognized classic. International House (1933) is not, strictly speaking, a Fields vehicle; it’s an all-star revue whose participants, unfortunately, are totally forgotten today. But that doesn’t affect the timelessness of W. C.’s delightful turn as a tipsy troublemaker who arrives onboard an ocean liner via autogyro (a forerunner of the helicopter). It’s a Gift (1934) casts Fields as a small-town grocery clerk who also happens to be a henpecked husband. In addition to sparring with scene-stealing Baby LeRoy (the tyke on the receiving end of the aforementioned foot), he tangles with a blind man looking for someone named Carl LaFong. You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man (1939), Fields’s first film for Universal, pits him against ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and dummy Charlie McCarthy, with whom W. C. was then feuding over the airwaves. His two 1940 releases are often considered his best. The Bank Dick casts him as a bank guard who quite inadvertently foils a robbery and becomes a hero; a totally superfluous but hilarious subplot finds him mistaken for a movie director. My Little Chickadee, a period piece set in the Wild West, teams Fields with the irrepressible Mae West -- a pairing that results in some of the funniest dialogue exchanges you’re ever likely to hear. This distinctive performer -- who also wrote many of his starring vehicles under bizarre pseudonyms such as Mahatma Kane Jeeves -- is one of relatively few who can be legitimately described as inimitable, and watching these five film classics amply demonstrates why.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/09/2004
UPC:
0025192578120
Rating:
NR
Source:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
1
Time:
6:13:00

Special Features

"W.C. Fields: Behind the Laughter": Historians, co-workers, and family members talk about the life and legacy of W.C. Fields; My Little Chickadee theatrical trailer; You Can't Cheat an Honest Man theatrical trailer; International House theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
W.C. Fields Actor,Egbert Sousé,Harold Bissonette,Cuthbert J. Twillie,Larson E. Whipsnade,Prof. Quail
Mae West Flower Belle Lee,Actress
Peggy Hopkins Joyce Herself
Baby Le Roy Actor,Baby Ellwood Dunk
Cora Witherspoon Agatha Sousé
Jean Rouverol Mildred Bissonette
Edgar Bergen Actor,Himself
Joseph Calleia Masked Bandit
Julian Madison John Durston
Stuart Erwin Tommy Nash
Una Merkel Myrtle Sousé
Constance Moore Vicky Whipsnade
Dick Foran Wayne Carter
Jessie Ralph Mrs. Hermisillo Brunch
Kathleen Howard Amelia Bissonette
Sara Maritza Carol Fortescue
Evelyn del Rio Elsie Mae Adele Brunch Sousé
George Burns Dr. Burns
Ivan Lebedeff Ronnie
Ruth Donnelly Aunt Lou
Franklin Pangborn J. Pinkerton Snoopington
Rudy Vallée Himself
Margaret Hamilton Miss Gideon
Donald Meek Amos Budget
Grady Sutton Og Oggilby
Fuzzy Knight Cousin Zeb
Shemp Howard Joe Guelpe
Russell Hicks J. Frothingham Waterbury
Willard Robertson Uncle John
George Moran Clarence
Jackie Searl Boy
Gene Austin Himself
Mark Anthony Townsman
Hank Bell Actor
Georgie Billings Boy
Wade Boteler Man
Al Bridge Actor
Harlan Briggs Hotel Clerk
Bob Burns Actor
Eddie Butler Henchman
Lane Chandler Porter
Lita Chevret Indian squaw
Bing Conley Henchman
Jimmy Conlin Bartender Squawk Mulligan
William B. Davidson Sheriff
Jan Duggan Woman
Frank Ellis Townsman
Al Ferguson Train Passenger
Chester Gan Chinaman
Slim Gaut Bowlegged man
Ben Hall Schoolboy
Russell Hall Candy
Bud Harris Porter
Charles Hart Boy
Edward Hearn Actor
Otto Heimel Coco
Otto Hoffman Pete the Printer
Lloyd Ingraham Leading Citizen
Dan Jackson Actor
Si Jenks Deputy
John Kelly Actor
Walter McGrail Actor
Bob McKenzie Actor
George H. Melford Sheriff
James C. Morton Actor
Anne Nagel Miss Ermingarde Foster
Vester Pegg Gambler, Townsman
Bob Reeves Barfly
Addison Richards Judge
Jack Roper Henchman
Dick Rush Actor
Buster Slaven Boy
Dorothy Vernon Diner
Morgan Wallace Gambler
Delmar Watson Boy
Joe Whitehead Actor
Bill Wolfe Actor

Technical Credits
Edward F. Cline Director
Edward Sutherland Director
Norman Z. McLeod Director
George Marshall Director
Lester Cowan Producer
Edward A. Curtiss Editor
W.C. Fields Screenwriter
Jack Otterson Art Director
Charles Previn Musical Direction/Supervision
Frank Skinner Score Composer
Joseph A. Valentine Cinematographer
Mae West Screenwriter

Scene Index

Side #1 -- The Bank Dick
1. Liquor and Smoke [4:47]
2. Boondoggler [2:43]
3. Director on a Bender [2:16]
4. Taking Over [5:30]
5. Hero of the Hour [7:19]
6. Special Officer [4:41]
7. Junk Bonds [4:36]
8. Take a Chance [3:02]
9. Inspector Snoopington [3:04]
10. Borrowed Funds [1:58]
11. A Little Spot [8:14]
12. Doctor's Orders [3:58]
13. Bank Audit [2:36]
14. Examining the Books [4:33]
15. Beefsteak Bonanza [4:00]
16. Easy Come, Easy Go [5:26]
17. Your Lucky Day [2:39]
18. End Titles [:29]
Side #2 -- My Little Chickadee
1. Masked Bandit (Main Titles) [6:55]
2. Going My Way? [5:37]
3. Indian Attack [2:53]
4. Matrimonial Predicament [5:33]
5. Pear Shaped Ideas [3:51]
6. The Last Gasp [3:30]
7. City Slicker [6:32]
8. A Game of Chance [2:21]
9. Willie of the Valley [4:49]
10. Building a City [2:46]
11. Secret Rendezvous [8:18]
12. Can't Resist Temptation [4:19]
13. Not Wanted Here [4:03]
14. Head of the Class [5:33]
15. A Little Osculation [7:16]
16. Identified by a Kiss [4:37]
17. Taking Matters Into Hand [4:12]
18. End Titles [:18]
Side #3 -- You Can't Cheat an Honest Man
1. In Hock (Main Titles) [4:19]
2. Traveling Circus [5:56]
3. Side Show [5:01]
4. Shower Time [3:41]
5. Animal Feed [4:22]
6. Buffalo Bella [4:53]
7. Splitting Routine [5:54]
8. Throwing Voices [3:42]
9. Stick Around [2:16]
10. Castle in the Sky [5:41]
11. Summons Served [4:40]
12. Getting Married [4:46]
13. Up, Up and Away [5:13]
14. Here Comes the Bride [3:55]
15. Snake Stories [4:25]
16. Ping-Pong Play [5:31]
17. Family Feud [3:56]
18. End Titles [:28]
Side #4 -- It's a Gift
1. Main Titles [1:35]
2. A Letter From Relatives [1:11]
3. Morning Traffic [3:54]
4. Breakfast With the Family [4:10]
5. California Dreaming [1:31]
6. Mr. Muckle [5:01]
7. Tragic Telegram [4:45]
8. Baby Elwood [4:21]
9. Wasted Inheritance [1:48]
10. Sleep Interrupted [2:48]
11. On the Porch [11:25]
12. California Here We Come [3:58]
13. No Room in the Tent [4:29]
14. Picnic Lunch [7:04]
15. In the Neighborhood [1:14]
16. Home Sweet Home [4:12]
17. What's Your Price? [3:04]
18. A New Life (End Titles) [1:36]
Side #5 -- International House
1. Manufacturing Rights (Main Titles) [5:13]
2. Hot Invention [2:42]
3. The Radioscope [3:39]
4. A Different Nurse [2:41]
5. The Road to Wu Hu [2:18]
6. The Wrong Idea [4:37]
7. Is the Doctor In? [2:52]
8. Contagious Disease [2:46]
9. Cups and Saucers [3:56]
10. The Professor Arrives [4:14]
11. Under Quarantine [2:30]
12. No More Rooms [7:46]
13. The Demonstration [4:17]
14. How's the Patient? [5:12]
15. My Bluebird's Singing the Blues [3:06]
16. Reefer Man [4:02]
17. The Great Escape [5:45]
18. End Titles [:38]

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W. C. Fields Comedy Collection 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You have to appreciate a man you can make you laugh all these years later. We purchased this DVD set for my father, who isn't a "movie watcher" rather flips between channels, and were nervous he wouldn't like them. But he has LOVED them. The timeless lines and humor can still make him laugh and keep his attention! Our whole family (age 14-50) watched the movies and laughed at WC and his grumbles, mumbles, and stumbles! Good clean fun!
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