HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Never Give a Sucker an Even Break Fields Day
Year: 1941
Director: Edward F. Cline
Stars: W.C. Fields, Gloria Jean, Leon Errol, Billy Lenhart, Kenneth Brown, Margaret Dumont, Susan Miller, Franklin Pangborn, Mona Barrie, Charles Lang, Anne Nagel, Nell O'Day, Irving Bacon, Jody Gilbert, Minerva Urecal, Claud Allister, Irving Berlin
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: W.C. Fields (as himself) is heading for the studio of Esoteric Pictures where he is hoping to sell a script to a movie he wants to star in. On the way, he stops to admire a billboard poster for one of his previous movies, The Bank Dick, and as he does so he is heckled by two boys who were less than impressed with it. To add more indignity, he starts to talk to a young woman only to be knocked off his feet by her husband, then ruins his hat when someone else surprises him. His niece, Gloria Jean (also playing herself), is trying to make it in the movie business too, and who knows, perhaps they could appear together?

Never Give a Sucker an Even Break was historic in its way for being the last ever film that starred W.C. Fields; thanks to ill health he would show up in guest star roles from here till the end of his life a few short years later, but this was his real swan song. And what a farewell it was, one of the most preposterous comedies ever made that suggested even in 1941 that he was not for all tastes, and indeed was one of the first screen comedians to be labelled "cult". To that end, he crafted a film based on his own directions that made no conventional sense, but if you were prepared to go along with its surreal flights of fancy and outright stupidity for the sake of a good laugh, then you would enjoy it quite a bit.

It's as if Fields knew his stretch in the spotlight was coming to an end, and made this one strictly for the fans, as by this point it was those loyal followers who were showing up for his works, the rest of the general public having some time since left him to his own devices as far as his humour went. For this reason, this film is probably not the one to start with if you're new to Fields, and even if you are familiar with him you'll notice he gets an easier ride here than he does in his other movies, with even one character who does nothing but respect him in the shape of Miss Jean, who also took care of the musical numbers that pepper the action (it's difficult to authentically refer to what happens as a story).

If you're being strict, then there are two narratives running here, the first with Fields trying to get his script read to studio head Franklin Pangborn, who if anything is more harrassed than the star here in an obvious dig at the suits. The second is that script itself, shot as if it were a real film except that you can well believe that no company in their right minds would have commissioned it, hence the framing story. In that framing, there is not as much Fields as some aficionados may have hoped, with a long sequence given over to Gloria trilling her way through a few tunes in a studio while almost drowned out by the noise of workmen and rehearsals as Pangborn persuades her to do songs she doesn't like (accompanied by an uncredited Irving Berlin!).

Luckily, the scenes where Fields did not appear still had that lunacy of those where he did, but it's really the last half where the movie within a movie gets going that the ludicrous plotting and insane gags really kick in. Fields finds himself flying over Europe with Gloria, and accidentally drops his bottle of whisky over the side of the aircraft's open air viewing platform (!), whereupon in a panic he jumps after it, catches it, and lands safely thousands of feet below with a bounce on some cushions left by Marx Brothers' foil Margaret Dumont as Mrs Hemoglobin. She is an avowed man-hater who lives on top of a mountain with her daughter (Susan Miller) who has never seen a man before, so Fields starts to take advantage, but then there's the fanged Great Dane and the gorilla to be taken into account... well, you get the idea, this is uniquely farcical. Just wait till you get to the car chase at the end, nothing to do with the rest of the movie, rivalling Bullitt for its energy - and far funnier; this may not be consistent, but it is frequently hilarious. Music by Frank Skinner.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 5504 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: