Monday, February 27, 2006

It's a Gift (1934)

W.C. Fields: Actor, Comedian... Lush
Genre: Comedy

Starring: W.C. Fields (The Bank Dick; My Little Chickadee), Kathleen Howard

Directed By: Norman Z. McLeod (The Paleface; Monkey Business)

Overview: When a man earns an inheritance, he up and buys a California orange grove before even looking at it. The family's road trip ends at a beat up old shack.

Acting: I distinctly recall reading how W.C. Fields' comedy had the most impeccable timing, how his masterfully original performance was just out there hilarious. Sure he's got a funny accent and falls down and stuff, but don't let it fool you, it's fine, like the rest of the cast, but he ain't no Chaplin. Decent, no more.
Rating: 7

Cinematography: This was good though. There's a few stunts, a few neat sets like the picnic and the three floor apartment scene. The cars and the general store, the look of the thirties was well captured. Nice to watch.
Rating: 8

Script: The writing was decent, none of this was disappointing. That awful wife of his with that attitude and his mean neighbor lady and her kid. They get you feeling so bad for our poor hero. Though again I can't say that I wasn't expecting more from this King of Comedy. I guess I know why I don't hear too much about this guy...
Rating: 7

Plot: The story on the other hand was very fun. Honestly, most of this film is not about the oranges, it's about W.C. Fields trying to run a store, and actually GET to California. The oranges sort themselves out, don't worry about it. There were a few scenes that could have used a better writer, like when W.C.'s trying to shave while his daughter's using the mirror, but that trying-to-sleep out on the porch with all the distractions going on? That is classic awesome.
Rating: 8

Mood: This is what got me. The timing was not 'flawless', the comedy was not 'astounding'. I just didn't feel perfectly there. The terrible ladies are great and the movie was fine, but something was missing. It all seemed directed like a play, a little too contrived. The comedy was forced.
Rating: 6

The blind guy breaks all the windows and most of the lighbulbs, that 'stressful' kind of comedy

Overall Rating: 72% (It's A Movie)

Aftertaste: Frankly, I was disappointed in the 36th title seen from my 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book. I was really looking forward to W.C. Fields, and I will certainly give him another chance with his The Bank Dick, and another collection of shorts that's on its was from, but like I said, I think I know why W.C. Fields isn't the most famous film comic out there...