There's no circus, no flying trapeze, but lots of laughs generated by the myriad frustrations and barely controlled rage of "the man" in this great W.C. Fields vehicle. A deft sketch of the potentially nightmarish qualities of small town America, it still has an edge.
Ambrose Wolfinger (Fields) dawdles over brushing his teeth and gargling in the bathroom until his shrewish wife, Leona (Howard) complains about the noise. Trundling to bed, he falls asleep snoring, only to be awakened when his wife improbably hears sounds of burglars singing. Gun in hand,
Wolfinger creeps out of his bedroom to investigate, but the weapon accidentally discharges, bringing his horrendous mother-in-law, Mrs. Cordelia Neselrode (Lewis), and sponging stepson Claude (Sutton), on the run. Fortunately Wolfinger's good-hearted daughter, Hope (Brian) also appears to offer
moral support. Wolfinger finds that two burglars "Legs" Garnett (Brennan) and "Willie" the Weasel (Young) have broken into his barrel of applejack whiskey. Soon they are all drinking and singing together. Ambrose Wolfinger's rebellion against the demands of his overbearing family and dead-end job
has just begun.
One of Fields's most entertaining movies, THE MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE features a series of ordinary mishaps that escalate into hilarious physical disasters. Directed by Clyde Bruckman (who worked on Buster Keaton's classic THE GENERAL), the film is more than a showcase for its star. Kathleen
Howard, a former Metropolitan Opera singer and fashion writer, was Fields's favorite on-screen wife, and he never tired of telling reporters what an accomplished actress she was. Brian, Fields's neighbor, was no longer a star, but she was still charming. Less well known that IT'S A GIFT or THE
BANK DICK, this is still an excellent comic outing. Check out that filing system!
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- Rating: NR
- Review: There's no circus, no flying trapeze, but lots of laughs generated by the myriad frustrations and barely controlled rage of "the man" in this great W.C. Fields vehicle. A deft sketch of the potentially nightmarish qualities of small town America, it still… (more)