It's A Gift

  • 1934
  • 1 HR 13 MIN
  • NR
  • Comedy

Never was a film so well titled. Along with THE BANK DICK this is the finest, funniest movie W.C. Fields ever made. It's also a rollicking spoof of middle-class marriage and mainstream ambitions. Fields appears as Harold Bissonette, a small-town shopowner with selfish children and a nagging wife. When his family isn't making his life miserable, his customers...read more

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Never was a film so well titled. Along with THE BANK DICK this is the finest, funniest movie W.C. Fields ever made. It's also a rollicking spoof of middle-class marriage and mainstream ambitions.

Fields appears as Harold Bissonette, a small-town shopowner with selfish children and a nagging wife. When his family isn't making his life miserable, his customers and neighbors are. He dreams of the good life and a California orange grove he's purchased with an inheritance, but the hostile world

won't even let him get a decent night's sleep. (In a memorable scene poor Harold copes with a noisy milkman, a grape-wielding baby, a porch swing chain and an obnoxious saleman looking for one "Karl La Fong".) When Harold and family finally make it to California, they learn he's been swindled,

but, predictably, he gets the last laugh.

IT'S A GIFT is almost nonstop laughter, loaded with Fields' patented sight gags, slapstick, and dialogue uttered out of the corner of his mouth. Fields resurrected much of this material from other sources, such as his silent film IT'S THE OLD ARMY GAME and the 1925 play The Comic Supplement. He

also drew on his memories as the son of a Philadelphia pushcart vendor for some of the story, which he wrote under the name of Charles Bogle. Though Norman McLeod was the nominal director, Fields picked his own cast and essentially ran the film, and his wonderful, caustic humor comes through on

every frame.

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