My Little Chickadee

  • 1940
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy, Western

Neither the best of the West nor the lillies of the Fields. Teaming Mae and W.C. in a Wild West spoof seemed inspired, and the marquee values brought plenty of people to the box office, but the film plays like two middling star vehicles uneasily spliced together. Flower Belle (West), a woman whose corsets are tighter than her morals, is thrown out of town...read more

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Neither the best of the West nor the lillies of the Fields. Teaming Mae and W.C. in a Wild West spoof seemed inspired, and the marquee values brought plenty of people to the box office, but the film plays like two middling star vehicles uneasily spliced together.

Flower Belle (West), a woman whose corsets are tighter than her morals, is thrown out of town by righteous townsfolk after she's romanced by a masked bandit. On board a train, she's courted by snake oil salesman Cuthbert J. Twillie (Fields) and marries him to gain respectability while she

continues searching for her lover's identity.

Mutual admirers Fields and West interact fairly well in their occasional scenes together, but her diamond-bright polish and his ambling, martini-fueled improvisations don't entirely mix. We don't have Abbott and Costello or Laurel and Hardy here, but rather two comics used to toplining alone. (It

was cute, though, to end the film with his inviting her to "come up and see me sometime" and her responding, "Yeah, I'll do that, my little chickadee.") West parries both saloon owner Jeff Badger (Calleia) and crusading newspaperman Wayne Carter (Foran) with ease, and has a real comic highlight

when she takes over a classroom for an indisposed teacher, but Fields comes off rather better. (The quality of his work was rarely affected by the quality of the film as a whole.) His attempts to get into Flower Belle's bed are hilarious, and the poker scene in the bar is a classic if only for the

moment when Fuzzy Knight asks, "Is this a game of chance?" and Fields replies, "Not the way I play it."

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Neither the best of the West nor the lillies of the Fields. Teaming Mae and W.C. in a Wild West spoof seemed inspired, and the marquee values brought plenty of people to the box office, but the film plays like two middling star vehicles uneasily spliced to… (more)

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