- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Fields' Final Feature Settles Some Scores
The great W.C. Fields' final film for his four picture, Universal contract was "Never Give A Sucker an Even Break" (1941) and in it, Fields (maybe sensing it was his last starring film ever) lays into the big studio system nitpickers who he had to fight with during his entire cinematic career. He plays "W.C. Fields", an aging film comedian, who is trying to get a film produced at a studio where they give him nothing but trouble. As he reads his script idea to the fussy Franklin Pangborn, the film becomes a film-within-a-film, with Fields' preposterous script coming to life. Also featured in the film is the underrated Gloria Jean as his niece. There was real chemistry between the old timer and the young starlet, with Gloria in later years revealing that Fields touchingly told her off screen "I wish I had a daughter like you". Though hardly a well made film (evidently Universal messed with it) and the plot is all over the place, some of the wonderful individual scenes (Fields in the diner, Fields with Margaret DuMont and the iconic car chase at the end) make the film rise above it's ramshackle construction. My favorite line was when Fields went into a malt shoppe to do a balancing act with a cherry on a straw from a drink. He looks right into the camera and says "This scene was supposed to be in a saloon but the censor cut it out". He wasn't kidding!
What A Treat
- T. Power
Side splitting quips that destroy all in their wake!
Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941)
- Jay Higgins
Enjoyable nonsense, with some great skits and the car chase scene at the end is a real classic. Some fun musical numbers, good cast, especially W.C.Fields and Margaret Dumont.
What a delightful movie
This is a sloppy little near masterpiece that feels thrown together, but that may be exactly what makes it so delightful. As we watch Fields attempt to sell a movie story to studio head Franklyn Pangborn, we get pieces of the movie within the movie --featuring Amazon princesses on a mountaintop kingdom and Field's jumping from an airplane to salvage a bottle of whiskey that has fallen out the window. There is also a painfully sincere ingenue who slips in every once an a while to give the audience a break (if she starts to sing, go in search of popcorn). Not as good a film as The Bank Dick, but silly and filled with some of Field's best and most repeated gags.