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W.C. Fields Comedy Collection (The Bank Dick / My Little Chickadee / You Can't Cheat an Honest Man / It's a Gift / International House)

4.5 out of 5 stars 252 customer reviews

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(Nov 09, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

W.C. Fields is an American original, the curmudgeonly master of wit and good, mean fun. In this collection of madcap classics, the famously top-hatted Fields unleashes his unique comic zing, proving himself the king of the one-liner. This special DVD collection includes The Bank Dick, My Little Chickadee, You Can't Cheat an Honest Man, It's a Gift and International House. The W.C. Fields Comedy Collection is Fields at his finest, and a must-have for anyone who loves to laugh!

For anyone who loves classic comedy, the W.C. Fields Comedy Collection is absolutely essential. Film for film, this may be the best DVD showcase ever devoted to a single comedian, including all five of Fields's acknowledged classics in a sturdy, beautifully designed library-quality slipcase. One could easily lament the relative lack of bonus features (it would have been nice to have some vintage Fields radio shows and newsreel footage), but the inclusion of A&E's 1994 Biography documentary W.C. Fields: Behind the Laughter is sufficiently informative about Fields's life, career, irascible personality, and tragic alcoholism. That's all that's really needed when the films themselves are so timelessly entertaining, and they're all remarkably pristine in sound and image quality. The best way to appreciate Fields's evolving screen persona is to view these films in chronological order: In International House (1933), Fields was merely one of many Paramount stars of screen and radio (including Rudy Vallee, Burns & Allen, Bela Lugosi, Sterling Holloway, and manic bandleader Cab Calloway), but he handily steals the show, invading a Shanghai hotel in his airplane/helicopter and delivering the classic line (to Franklin Pangborn), "Don't let the posy fool ya!" It's one of Paramount's best all-star revues.

It's a Gift (1934) is a remake of Fields's 1926 silent It's the Old Army Game, and was the first sound feature devoted to Fields's inimitable talent. As beleaguered husband and would-be orange farmer, Fields revives vintage routines from Vaudeville and Broadway, and his first encounter with Baby LeRoy is comedy gold. You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939) features Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy and Fields's classic, still-hilarious ping-pong routine, while 1940's My Little Chickadee matches Fields (as "Guthbert J. Twillie") with Mae West, whose unforgettable on-screen banter with Fields shows no sign of their notorious off-screen animosity. In his raucous masterpiece The Bank Dick (also 1940), Fields is "Egbert Souse," lowly bank guard, unlikely hero, and manic driver in perhaps the greatest slapstick car-chase scene ever filmed. Despite the regrettable absence of Fields's final starring feature Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, this classy five-disc set is a veritable cornucopia of comedy, offering ample proof of Fields's comic genius through classic one-liners, physical routines, memorable costars, and perfect bits of business that never grow old. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

Disc 2 - My Little Chickadee:
  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Disc 3 - You Can't Cheat an Honest Man:
  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Disc 5 - International House:
  • W.C. Fields: Behind the Laughter
  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Product Details

    • Actors: W.C. Fields, Cora Witherspoon, Una Merkel, Evelyn Del Rio, Jessie Ralph
    • Directors: Edward F. Cline
    • Format: Box set, Black & White, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
    • Subtitles: Spanish, French
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 5
    • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
    • Studio: Universal Studios
    • DVD Release Date: November 9, 2004
    • Run Time: 373 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (252 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B0002MHDY2
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,135 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "W.C. Fields Comedy Collection (The Bank Dick / My Little Chickadee / You Can't Cheat an Honest Man / It's a Gift / International House)" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    Format: DVD
    I purchased this set last week without having read any reviews previously. I only knew that I was a fan of Mae West and that I wanted a nice collection of her films. However, before I even put in the first DVD I sporadically decided to read some of the reviews for this set on Amazon just for kicks. One reviewer here claims that the sound is horrible, that the picture is garbage, and that Warner Bros. is putting out "trash" sets. Well first of all, this is not a Warner Home Video release. This set is from Universal Studios despite the fact every film contained within originated from Paramount Studios... I digress. Expecting the worst, I popped in the first disc. The movie begins. The sound is clear. The picture is clear. It doesn't shake and there seems to be very little grain on the image aside from the usual specs that grace older films. Personally, I find a bit of grain/debris to be somewhat charming and enjoy products looking "of their time" so to speak. Why, even mono sound is very clear. After viewing all 5 films, the only one with any real noticeable grain or scratches was "Going To Town" but even then not to a distracting level. However I do have one complaint. The films are divided up rather strangely over the two disc. The division is as follows:
    Disc one Side A : Night After Night & I'm No Angel
    Side B: Going To Town
    Disc two: Side A: Go West Young Man & My Little Chick-a-dee
    Side B: Nothing
    I haven no idea why side B is completely empty when two films are crammed onto Side A. The only extras are trailers for three of the films and the menu designs are identical for each film. Sadly, it seems to be a trend for most catalog classic releases to be treated as such.
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    1 Comment 161 of 171 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    Well THANK YOU UNIVERSAL!!! It's about time!!! W.C. Fields is one of THE greatest comedians EVER, yet his catalog has been grossly overlooked. I can be certain with Universal issuing these the quality will be top notch. Criterion had already issued The Bank Dick, so I'm not sure why it's on here too, but I won't complain as the other 4 are certainly worth the price of admission!

    Now, PLEASE continue to release the many other Fields movies that are out there. I'm really hoping this is only 1 of several volumes that will be issued.

    Any and all Fields fans should buy this, buy another 1 or 2 for gifts to family and friends, the better this release does the better chances of more to follow!

    And if you haven't seen Fields ever??? You have to buy this, this man is one of THE building blocks of all modern comedy!

    MUST SEE CLASSIC CINEMA! Fields slow burn style of comedy is a drastic opposite to today's modern, cheap, "fast food" style of comedy. Today's comedy is a quick laugh and it's over, never as funny the second time around, but with Fields, each viewing makes you laugh more as you start to relate pesonally to W.C. and all his trials and tribulations of life that he interweaves into his comedy.

    On a personal level Fields as a comedian sneaks into your heart and mind causing you to develop a rapport with him and the daily events of life that shape and mold all of us to a certain extent. Fields, in his never ending struggle for control of those daily events brings about some of the most classic comedy ever to be captured on film. This my friends is THE golden age of comedy captured for all to enjoy, do not miss it.
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    4 Comments 40 of 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    Universal released this set in conjunction with a Marx Brothers collection. It is to my surprise that the W.C. Fields set is the more satisfying of the two. Fields was a true original. Nobody in film history has matched his whimsically soused and often caustic approach to comedy. To reiterate what an earlier reviewer stated I hope somebody packages some of Fields other work but this is an excellent primer for someone unfamiliar with his work. The extras in this package are slight; a few trailers and a not bad "Biography" segment.

    International House: Essentially a review featuring the "stars" of the day. The connecting plot is an early demonstration of televison at a hotel in China. Fields is the obvious stand-out but Burns and Allen have some amusing routines and Cab Calloway's abbreviated performance of "Reefer Man" is of interest. Not a classic, but deserves to be seen at least once. Four stars.

    It's a Gift: This is one of the funniest films of all-time. The story concerns Fields' grocer who has dreams of owning an orange grove and has to deal with his overbearing family. One uproarious set-piece here follows another. Five stars.

    You Can't Cheat an Honest Man: This time Fields plays a slick circus owner one step ahead of the law. Fields' shtick here is good for awhile but starts to wear thin as the movie progresses. The film is saved somewhat by the routines of Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. Four stars.

    My Little Chickadee: The weak link in the set. Fields and co-star Mae West have zero chemistry in this western comedy. It seems like the two of them are acting at cross purposes in two different movies. Two stars.

    The Bank Dick: Back in classic territory.
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    Comment 27 of 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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