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Never Give a Sucker an Even Break

Never Give a Sucker an Even Break(1941)

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NOTES

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The working title of this film was The Great Man. The name of the writer credited with the film's original story, "Otis Criblecoblis," was a pseudonym for the film's star, W. C. Fields. According to information contained in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, Fields's original script for the film, dated April 15, 1941, was rejected by the PCA as being "filled with vulgar and suggestive scenes and dialogue" as well as containing "innumerable jocular references to drinking and liquor." The Hays office also objected to references to the producer's character, played in the film by actor Franklin Pangborn, as a "pansy," and scenes in which the stage directions had Fields' character leering at women's legs and breasts. A revised script, dated June 5, 1941, was later approved by the PCA.
       This was the final film to feature W. C. Fields in a starring role. According to modern sources, it was the last picture in a four-film contract between Fields and Universal, which paid him $25,000 for the story idea and another $125,000 for his performance. Modern sources also claim that the character of "Madame Gorgeous," Gloria Jean's mother in the film, was to have died in the film-within-a-film sequence, with Fields taking over as the young girl's guardian; in the released film, however, "Madame Gorgeous" simply disappears without explanation.
       While Hollywood Reporter production charts include Baby Sandy in the cast, the child did not appear in the released film. Hollywood Reporter production charts also include Beatrice Roberts in the cast, but her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Modern sources add Harriette Haddon (Redhead), Marcia Ralston (Stewardess), Jean Porter (Passerby) and Prince (Himself, a Great Dane) to the cast and credit Jack Gross as line producer and Dave Sharpe with stunts. Actress Carlotta Monti, who played a small role in Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, later wrote an autobiography in which she identified herself as the mistress of the noted comedian. Entitled W. C. Fields and Me, the book was made into a motion picture in 1976, starring Rod Steiger and Valerie Perrine and directed by Arthur Hiller.