|Not Fields' best, but still very good.|
Directed by Norman Z. McLeod
Produced by William LeBaron
Written by W.C. Fields and Jack Cunningham
Starring W.C. Fields, Baby LeRoy and Kathleen Howard
Plot Summary: Against his wife’s wishes, a grocery store owner (Fields) buys an orange farm with his uncle’s inheritance.
Significance: Considered one of the finest American comedies of the thirties - and of Fields’ career, this film was featured in the latest Sight and Sound Poll (#588 in 2012 critics' poll). Also, it was added to the U.S. National Film Preservation Board’s Film Registry in 2010.
Thoughts: Having loved Fields’ work in The Bank Dick, this film, which carries a solid reputation, was high on my watchlist. Fields has a simple comedic style of slapstick and verbal wit, but it’s fun watching him do comedy. There are several laugh-out-loud moments, such as a scene where he tries to go to sleep amidst constant interruption, or a scene where he attempts to wait on a customer who wants to buy kumquats. Fields’ image as a lovable everyman works so well here, even if this brief story isn’t airtight. (The film is only 68 minutes, but it’s very rushed after a lengthy introduction.) While the humor might be a little dated for some, I found the film to be quite funny and a fine entry in Fields’ filmography.