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midnight08

Hooray! W. C. Fields night 1/2

47 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, TikiSoo said:

speedracer said: I wish that the film he'd made with Mae West was scheduled

No you don't-it's the worst picture in both their libraries.

I saw MY LITTLE CHICKADEE in the 70's and it turned me off to both West & Fields for 30 years. So glad my film group scheduled both artists' earlier films for me to realize their true cinematic gems.
Glad you recorded the whole block-I did too!

Considering that it was the sole screen encounter between two of the most iconic figures of screen comedy, My Little Chickadee is regarded as a disappointment by most (perhaps almost all) film buffs and critics. I think Fields has a couple of amusing moments in it but West fans like to claim that their lady walks off with the honours, I suppose. Certainly the enforcement of the code had a severe impact upon her risque comedy on film in a manner than it didn't with Fields. For my money, I'm No Angel is her one good film.

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I'm really pleased that TCM had this mini W. C. Fields film festival. If I have any regrets about it it's that NEVER GIVE A SUCKER AN EVEN BREAK, a surreal comedy, at times, and a particular favourite of mine, was the last one scheduled (in early morning hours) and, therefore, fewer would have seen it than the others.

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The first time that Fields worked with Groucho's favourite leading lady, and it was a memorable, if brief, encounter, though it still takes a back seat to this one in the film . . .

 

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I watched a bit of "Million Dollar  Legs" but was unimpressed.  Eventually last night, I opted for the "American Experience" PBS program about the 1918-19 influenza epidemic.  Then turned in for the night.

Sepiatone

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2 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

speedracer said: I wish that the film he'd made with Mae West was scheduled

No you don't-it's the worst picture in both their libraries.

I saw MY LITTLE CHICKADEE in the 70's and it turned me off to both West & Fields for 30 years. So glad my film group scheduled both artists' earlier films for me to realize their true cinematic gems.
Glad you recorded the whole block-I did too!

I agree with Tiki. I was very disappointed when I saw it the first time. I anticipated a film full of laughs and fun from these two actors but the movie fell flat. 

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14 minutes ago, midnight08 said:

I agree with Tiki. I was very disappointed when I saw it the first time. I anticipated a film full of laughs and fun from these two actors but the movie fell flat. 

Chickadee was basically a Mae West movie with Fields in it--

West was good at scripting stories for herself, and even gave herself some complex dramatic storylines, while Fields was looser and usually just strung together classic bits for himself.  Fields' bits are good, they just don't seem to play any active part in West's movie.

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3 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

speedracer said: I wish that the film he'd made with Mae West was scheduled

No you don't-it's the worst picture in both their libraries.

I saw MY LITTLE CHICKADEE in the 70's and it turned me off to both West & Fields for 30 years. So glad my film group scheduled both artists' earlier films for me to realize their true cinematic gems.
Glad you recorded the whole block-I did too!

Even if it's really bad, I'd like to see it just to see it.  Who knows, maybe I'd turn it off after five minutes in sheer disgust.  Lol.  I actually don't know if I've seen a Mae West film in its entirety.  From what I have seen of West, she is very much a product of her era and I also imagine a little of her shtick goes a long way.  Nonetheless, I'd like to see Fields and West together, if only because unusual movie pairings intrigue me.  Sometimes I'll check out a film solely because of the people paired up in the film.  Even though I'm sure the film isn't very good, I've been waiting for the Elvis film that co-stars Barbara Stanwyck.  Elvis Presley and Barbara Stanwyck? 

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At Shadowland Stages, our holiday show this year was JACOB MARLEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL. There was a fanciful character, a pixie-sized goblin named "Bogle". I finally understood why W.C. picked THAT particular nom de plume!!!

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5 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

speedracer said: I wish that the film he'd made with Mae West was scheduled

No you don't-it's the worst picture in both their libraries.

I saw MY LITTLE CHICKADEE in the 70's and it turned me off to both West & Fields for 30 years. So glad my film group scheduled both artists' earlier films for me to realize their true cinematic gems.
Glad you recorded the whole block-I did too!

Okay, is there anyone who DIDN'T record the whole block.

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Great to have more of W.C. Fields on TCM. Wish they'd play his ENTIRE film library including my favorite "Man on the Flying Trapeze." Classic Fields!

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19 minutes ago, MovieCollectorOH said:

Okay, is there anyone who DIDN'T record the whole block.

Me - I'd already seen earlier TCM airings of The Bank Dick, The Dentist & The Fatal Glass of Beer.

Million Dollar Legs was completely new to me & I'd have to say I found it most enjoyable - loved the running gag of Ben Turpin popping up in each sequence, surreptitiously scribbling notes down.

Annoyingly, my cableco managed to introduce lots of digital dropouts into their broadcast of It's a Gift - sometimes, I miss the more forgiving analogue signal...

 

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Sad to say I laughed very few times in Million Dollar Legs, as opposed to It's a Gift, during which I laughed practically nonstop from start to finish. I didn't realize that Fields was going to be a supporting character in Legs, with the much-less funny Jack Oakie getting more screen time. Though when Oakie almost included a little boy in the list of things he was throwing over a bridge, that was the one belly laugh the movie got out of me.

I noticed Fields repeated the exact same joke in Gift and The Bank umm Richard (would that other word get censored?), in which his wife in each movie tells him not to strike his child (boy in one movie, girl in the other), and Fields replies, "I'll teach him/her to say I don't love him/her!" Feels like some of the Homer/Bart interactions were inspired by that. We can't make jokes about striking children anymore (or about blind guys causing mass destruction because they're, you know, blind), but when the war of throwing things between Fields and his daughter escalates to the point where Fields comes in the house with a giant flower pot that appears to have a small tree in it, I was having a hard time hearing the dialogue two scenes later because I was still laughing!

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17 minutes ago, Dan2E said:

Great to have more of W.C. Fields on TCM. Wish they'd play his ENTIRE film library including my favorite "Man on the Flying Trapeze." Classic Fields!

I wish they played his silent films. I don't know if they've ever been shown on TCM.

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10 minutes ago, sewhite2000 said:

Sad to say I laughed very few times in Million Dollar Legs, as opposed to It's a Gift, during which I laughed practically nonstop from start to finish. I didn't realize that Fields was going to be a supporting character in Legs, with the much-less funny Jack Oakie getting more screen time. Though when Oakie almost included a little boy in the list of things he was throwing over a bridge, that was the one belly laugh the movie got out of me.

I noticed Fields repeated the exact same joke in Gift and The Bank umm Richard (would that other word get censored?), in which his wife in each movie tells him not to strike his child (boy in one movie, girl in the other), and Fields replies, "I'll teach him/her to say I don't love him/her!" Feels like some of the Homer/Bart interactions were inspired by that. We can't make jokes about striking children anymore (or about blind guys causing mass destruction because they're, you know, blind), but when the war of throwing things between Fields and his daughter escalates to the point where Fields comes in the house with a giant flower pot that appears to have a small tree in it, I was having a hard time hearing the dialogue two scenes later because I was still laughing!

The "throw the kid over the bridge" gag was also in the Dentist when WC Fields is throwing his gulf clubs into the river in rage before finally throwing the caddie in too. :lol: 

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On 1/2/2018 at 12:26 AM, EricJ said:

Every time someone shows "The Fatal Glass of Beer" in a film-study context, out come the experts to say "Huh?  It's so arch and idiosyncratic, I don't get it!  Only Fields knew what genius of comedy he was trying to pursue..."

I first saw Beer at a kiddie-matinee collection of public-domain comedy shorts, along with some Chaplin and Stooges, and even then I got the joke--If you know it's trying to be the same parody of corny 1900's evils-of-drink "Drunkard" melodramas as borrowed from "The Old Fashioned Way", you can appreciate Fields' Letterman-esque deadpan sarcasm toward the genre.  :lol:

Fatal+Glass+Of+Beer+%25282%2529+copy.jpg

("Once he saw what he had done, he dashed the glass upon the floor, and staggered out the door with delirium tremens...")

As for "Million Dollar Legs", my dad for years when I was growing up would quote "...(megaphone) Line up, suckers!" without having the faintest idea what movie that came from.  When I finally told him, he still didn't believe me.

With the current weather nationwide, quoting the line "T'ain't a fit night out for man nor beast" seems totally appropriate. I could watch that short on my death bed and still laugh out loud!

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4 hours ago, TomJH said:

I'm really pleased that TCM had this mini W. C. Fields film festival. If I have any regrets about it it's that NEVER GIVE A SUCKER AN EVEN BREAK, a surreal comedy, at times, and a particular favourite of mine, was the last one scheduled (in early morning hours) and, therefore, fewer would have seen it than the others.

hqdefault.jpg

Annex%20-%20Fields,%20W.C.%20(Never%20Gi

Screen+Shot+2013-06-16+at+8.35.03+PM.png

dumont.jpg

The first time that Fields worked with Groucho's favourite leading lady, and it was a memorable, if brief, encounter, though it still takes a back seat to this one in the film . . .

 

And a Squigelum dedicated to you, Tom for all the fine shots from this classic!

 

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4 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

I watched a bit of "Million Dollar  Legs" but was unimpressed.  Eventually last night, I opted for the "American Experience" PBS program about the 1918-19 influenza epidemic.  Then turned in for the night.

Sepiatone

Sweetie! You traded Fields for a flu epidemic?

This is a travesty particularly since you missed Jack Oakie singing the song of all songs in films.
 

Seriously, I'm shocked and may need to get a shot of adrenaline to go on today with my normal routines. For shame, Sepia! What are you...an influenza addict or something???

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:D I heard Okie sing(or try to) that song.  It was the rest of the film that didn't hold my interest.  And I've seen the others last night a ton of times and even have some of them, so I really didn't miss much essentially. 

And I think JET SCREAMER covered that tune for the "B" side of this, his biggest "hit" ! ;)

 

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TCM's back-to-back showing of Million Dollar Legs and It's A Gift reminded me of the time I went to a public screening of this double feature. It's A Gift is always a must-see for me, but I was particularly interested to see Million Dollar Legs because I had never seen it before.  It turns out they got the wrong film, so instead we saw Million Dollar Legs (1939), which was a college comedy starring Betty Grable.  Oh well.

I did eventually see the Fields film, but it was great to finally see this double feature on TCM (especially since they got the correct films)!

 

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Speedracer said: Even if it's really bad, I'd like to see it just to see it.
Spoken as a true cinephile: EVERY movie is worth watching once. You never know what people are talking about unless you see it too. Watching what goes wrong in movies illustrates the art form.

I actually don't know if I've seen a Mae West film in its entirety. From what I have seen of West, she is very much a product of her era and I also imagine a little of her shtick goes a long way. Understanding the mores of the time is the key to her humor. She's a riot, once you "get" it.

My WC Fields "awakening" was attending a film screening of IT'S A GIFT. Seeing it on the schedule, I moaned to a fellow movie buddy, "I HATE Fields" to which he said, "Listen to me, you won't regret coming. Don't base your feelings on seeing him in CHICKADEE or COPPERFIELD. He's much more than that." I did, loved it & learned to keep an open mind.
That same philosophy helped me discover Mae West, who is now fully represented in the Tiki household.
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On ‎1‎/‎3‎/‎2018 at 5:43 PM, Sepiatone said:

:D I heard Okie sing(or try to) that song.  It was the rest of the film that didn't hold my interest.  And I've seen the others last night a ton of times and even have some of them, so I really didn't miss much essentially. 

And I think JET SCREAMER covered that tune for the "B" side of this, his biggest "hit" ! ;)

 

Get ready, baby, we're blasting off!!!!

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49 minutes ago, Janet0312 said:

Get ready, baby, we're blasting off!!!!

...Hey, no fair, he knows the secret code!

5 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I actually don't know if I've seen a Mae West film in its entirety. From what I have seen of West, she is very much a product of her era and I also imagine a little of her shtick goes a long way. Understanding the mores of the time is the key to her humor. She's a riot, once you "get" it.

I never used to like the Dirty Ol' Lady, since her jokes sounded pretty much like the same double entendre over and over.  But I'd watched Chickadee with a family member who used to like Bette Midler's 90's Disney comedies, and when West started teaching the class at school ("And there's Subtraction--Take a guy with a hundred, leave 'im with nothing, that's Subtraction"), we both realized, "So THAT'S where Bette picked it up from.  :lol: "   

I went on to watching "She Done Him Wrong" when that surfaced on Netflix, and West really did know how to shape her own on-screen projects, with some drama for her character without sinking into vanity-project.  She probably would have gone on to direct, if the studio had let her.

5 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

My WC Fields "awakening" was attending a film screening of IT'S A GIFT. Seeing it on the schedule, I moaned to a fellow movie buddy, "I HATE Fields" to which he said, "Listen to me, you won't regret coming. Don't base your feelings on seeing him in CHICKADEE or COPPERFIELD. He's much more than that." I did, loved it & learned to keep an open mind.

Okay, that does it--I can see Chickadee giving a bad/overexposed first impression of Fields, but WHO could hate Fields based on "David Copperfield"?

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9 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Speedracer said: Even if it's really bad, I'd like to see it just to see it.
Spoken as a true cinephile: EVERY movie is worth watching once. You never know what people are talking about unless you see it too. Watching what goes wrong in movies illustrates the art form.

I actually don't know if I've seen a Mae West film in its entirety. From what I have seen of West, she is very much a product of her era and I also imagine a little of her shtick goes a long way. Understanding the mores of the time is the key to her humor. She's a riot, once you "get" it.

My WC Fields "awakening" was attending a film screening of IT'S A GIFT. Seeing it on the schedule, I moaned to a fellow movie buddy, "I HATE Fields" to which he said, "Listen to me, you won't regret coming. Don't base your feelings on seeing him in CHICKADEE or COPPERFIELD. He's much more than that." I did, loved it & learned to keep an open mind.
That same philosophy helped me discover Mae West, who is now fully represented in the Tiki household.

I agree with both Speedracer and Tikisoo. I'm a big Jean Harlow fan. Several years ago Film Forum ran a festival of Fox pre code films. Jean starred with Spencer Tracy in Goldie, her only Fox film. I had read where the film was cheaply made, silly and downright awful but I still wanted to see it bad enough to travel to NYC to see it. It's never been on TV or video and probably won't ever be. I guess I 'm one of those "true cinephiles". LOL. 

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