The W.C. Fields Films

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About the Book

W.C. Fields was at the top among comedians during Hollywood’s Golden Era of the 1930s and 1940s and has since remained a comic icon. Despite his character’s misanthropic, child-hating, alcoholic tendencies, his performances were enduringly popular and Fields became personally defined by them.
This critical study of his work provides commentary and background on each of his films, from the early silents through the cameos near the end of his life, with fresh appraisals of his well known classics. Pictures once believed to be lost that have been discovered and restored are discussed, and new information is given on some that remain lost.

About the Author(s)

James L. Neibaur is a film historian and educator with more than 25 books and hundreds of articles appearing in Cineaste, Classic Images, Film Quarterly, Films in Review, Filmfax, and Encyclopædia Britannica.

Bibliographic Details

James L. Neibaur
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 200
Bibliographic Info: 50 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6530-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2748-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface  1
The Early Life of W. C. Fields: 1880‒1915  5
• The Films •
Pool Sharks  9
His Lordship’s Dilemma  11
Janice Meredith  13
Sally of the Sawdust  16
That Royle Girl  19
It’s the Old Army Game  23
So’s Your Old Man  29
The Potters  33
Running Wild  35
Two Flaming Youths  39
Tillie’s Punctured Romance  42
Fools for Luck  47
The Golf Specialist  50
Her Majesty, Love  54
Million Dollar Legs  57
If I Had a Million  63
The Dentist  66
The Fatal Glass of Beer  70
The Pharmacist  74
The Barber Shop  76
International House  79
Tillie and Gus  85
Alice in Wonderland  90
Six of a Kind  93
You’re Telling Me  97
The Old Fashioned Way  103
Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch  109
It’s a Gift  111
David Copperfield  118
Mississippi  121
Man on the Flying Trapeze  125
Poppy  134
The Big Broadcast of 1938  138
You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man  144
My Little Chickadee  150
The Bank Dick  155
Never Give a Sucker an Even Break  164
The Final Years: 1942–1946  173
The W. C. Fields Legacy  177
Notes  181
Bibliography  185
Index  189

Book Reviews & Awards

“solid, well-researched, enjoyable…a great source to learn more about the unique vintage comedy star, one of the few silent veterans to prosper in the sound era”—Plan 9 Crunch.