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148 of 157 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please Don't Listen To The Complainers...
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...
Published on May 1, 2006 by Travis T. Black

versus
116 of 140 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Before you get too excited...
First.....it is NEVER a good idea to review ANY DVD title before it's released, as so many seem to have done for these latest Mae West titles. Unfortunately, they will have to eat most of their words, now that it has been released.

I am a HUGE Mae West devotee, with one of the biggest Mae West collections in the world (even have her tattooed on my arm!)...
Published on April 4, 2006 by Damon Devine


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148 of 157 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please Don't Listen To The Complainers..., May 1, 2006
By 
Travis T. Black (Los Angeles, California) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mae West - The Glamour Collection (Go West Young Man/ Goin' To Town/ I'm No Angel/ My Little Chickadee/ Night After Night) (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. The Greta Garbo DVDs released earlier last year had picture quality that was not only about the same, it was worse in some places. Those were apparently "digitally restored" (I'm talking about her talkies, not the silents which had more scratches on them than a cat post) and cost about $20 A PIECE.

As for the films themselves, they are screen gems indeed. Mae West exhibits both a strong and amusing presence on film. She was an actress who was ahead of, as well as one of the most controversial, of her time. Each film shows off her perfectly timed comic abilities as well as her vocal talents which aren't too shabby either. After comparing the quality and price of these DVDs to previous releases of older films that belong in this genre, I've decided that this is really an excellent deal. So please, don't pay attention to angry reviewers who are bitter about lack of extras, this set is certainly worth it!
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120 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sooooo Close!, September 13, 2004
I have been waiting years for "It's a Gift" to make it onto DVD, and it would appear that my wish will finally come true with the release of this set. I will undoubtedly buy the collection, but I already have the Criterion version of "The Bank Dick" (and also their great release of the collection of 6 short films), and "Chickadee" and "Honest Man", while crowd-pleasers, never made it onto my list of must-see Fields films. I, like many others, am baffled by the choice of "International House" for inclusion, as Fields probably only spends about 1/30th of the time on screen, but if owning it is the price I must pay to see a great copy of "It's a Gift", then so be it!

I also hope that enough people buy this to prompt additional releases of some of the other pure Fields vehicles like "Man on the Flying Trapeze", "The Old Fashioned Way", "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break", and "Poppy". (Now that would make for a nice boxed-set!)

For me, Fields's comedy is still remarkably fresh, usually bitingly funny, always a treat for the ears, and sometimes even touching. 10 quick quotes from "Bank Dick" and "It's a Gift":
1) "Caught him on the first bounce!" (After gently bringing the ailing bank examiner through the hotel lobby up to his room, running back downstairs to the lobby out the front door, and again walking the bank examiner back through the hotel lobby)
2) Egbert: "Was I in here last night, and did I spend a twenty-dollar bill?" Bartender: "Why yes!" Egbert: "What a load that is off my mind! I thought I'd lost it!"
3) "See you got that door closed again" (Mr. Muckle the blind man after sticking his cane through Bissonette's glass door)
4) "Capital L, small a, capital F, small o, small n, small g; LaFong; Carl LaFong"
5) "I'll be sober tomorrow; you'll be crazy the rest of your life"
6) "You'd like to have a nose like that full of nickels, wouldn't you?" (Mother, to a young brat pointing at Fields's prominent proboscis)
7) "The resale value of this car is going to be nil after this ride."
8) "I'm very fond of children. Girl children, around eighteen, twenty"
9) Mrs. Sousé: "Don't you dare strike that child!" Egbert Sousé: "She's not gonna tell ME I don't love her."
10) Customer: "What do you have in the way of steaks"? Sousé: "Not a thing, I can get right to 'em".

"It's a Gift" and "The Bank Dick" are great mainly because of Fields, but they have great supporting casts (the great Franklin Pangborn as Bank Examiner J. Pinkerton Snoopington; Kathleen Howard as Amelia Bissonette; Tammany Young as the store clerk in "Gift"; Shemp Howard as bartender Joe Guelpe; Grady Sutton as Og Oggilby; Una Merkel as Egbert's mother-in-law; and Russell Hicks as the lugubrious J. Frothingham Waterbury.

"Chickadee" is famous for the pairing of Fields and Mae West, but it always irked me that (no offense to you Mae fans out there) valuable screen time was taken away from Fields so that we could see the venerable Ms. West show off her ample assets. "You Can't Cheat an Honest Man" is much closer to my heart, especially for the banter between Fields and Charlie McCarthy and some of the circus scenes, but overall my preference is for all Fields, all the time. (OK, I'll admit that a little Mortimer Snerd is never a bad thing).

In a perfect world, we would be able to pick and choose which W.C. Fields DVD to watch on any given day. Since they are so few and far between, I have to laud the upcoming release of these films, regardless of whether all 5 really show of the Great Man's talents to their best. And who knows, maybe if there is enough interest, the other great Fields films will hit the market soon. Anyway, the few minutes of Fields in "International House" is much much better than 2+ hours of the latest action adventure extravaganza taking up screen space at the gigaplex.

"As my dear old grandfather Litvak said (just before they swung the trap), he said 'You can't cheat an honest man. Never give a sucker an even break or smarten up a chump.'"
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars YES, YES, YES!! About time!, August 28, 2004
By 
Greg Horn "guildx700" (waterford, wisconsin USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
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.
----------------------------------------------------------
FINAL FOLLOWUP:
I've watched all the discs now and quality is as good as it's going to get, very, very good. The packaging is very nicely done too.

As far as the choice of movies included... Well it's too bad they put the Bank Dick in taking a spot away from another possible inclusion, seeing a high quality Criterion Collection version is already available. International House is a scream, I've always liked it, not so sure it is a "fit" in a Fields collection however, but his material is very good in the movie. Perhaps 3 more collections can come out making enough room in each of the collections for movies like this where Fields only had a part in them.

Someone mentioned Six Of A Kind, IT IS available on DVD as part of the Burns Allen collection, as well as The Big Broadcast, Sally Of The Sawdust, and 6 shorts Fileds on Criterion Collection which is superb quality.

NOW, it is a must that all fans e-mail Universal and ask for MORE releases!!!!!!!! Here's what we need in no particular order.

1.Mississippi
2.Man On The Flying Trapeze
3.You're Telling Me
4.The Old Fashioned Way
5.Poppy
6.Tillie And Gus
7.Never Give a Sucker An Even Break
8.If I Had A Million
9.Tales Of Manhattan
10.Her Majesty Love
11.Song Of The Open Road
12.Sensations of 1945
13.Alice In Wonderland
14.It's The Old Army Game
15.Follow The Boys
16.Running Wild
17.Million Dollar Legs

It can be seen that there is enough material for 3 more collections. PLEASE UNIVERSAL!!!!!!!
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Treasure Trove of Comedy, November 20, 2004
By 
David Baldwin (Philadelphia,PA USA) - See all my reviews
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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. Here, Fields seems a little dissipated but his timing is still impeccable. Basically, his character is a ne'er do-well bank guard who through circumstance, guile, and sheer luck manages to come out

on top. Like "It's a Gift", this film contains one hilarious set-piece after another. Five stars.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful But Incomplete, January 25, 2006
By 
James Morris (Syracuse, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mae West - The Glamour Collection (Go West Young Man/ Goin' To Town/ I'm No Angel/ My Little Chickadee/ Night After Night) (DVD)
At last - 12 years after Universal released the entire Mae West collection on VHS to celebrate the 100th anniversary of her birth, they are finally putting out a boxed set of some of her classic films. I am particularly delighted that this set includes the often overlooked gem, Goin' To Town, one of Miss West's funniest comedies.

But I am of mixed emotions concerning this release, since it only includes five of Mae West's classics. I've waited a long time for these to be released on DVD, and what does Universal do? They put out only five of the ten films they have the rights to. Two of the films in this collection were already released on DVD - I'm No Angel was released several years ago, and My Little Chickadee was released last year as part of the W. C. Fields collection. So only three of the five films are new to DVD.

Worse, the set does not include She Done Him Wrong, Mae West's personal favorite among all her films, which was based on her stage hit, Diamond Lil. The inclusion of Go West Young Man (considered by many fans to be her weakest effort) is puzzling over She Done Him Wrong, but I suppose that just makes it more likely that they will do the right thing and release the rest shortly.

The box set released in the UK three months ago contains a whole different set of six films - including Klondike Annie (one of her few dramas, and one of her best films) and the seldom seen The Heat's On, a silly musical done at Columbia studios in 1943, which was the great lady's last screen appearance until Myra Breckinridge, 27 years later.

Universal saw fit to release virtually all of the Abbott and Costello films in its vaults before it got to Mae West, Carole Lombard and Marlene Dietrich (the release of The Glamour Collection: Marlene Dietrich and The Glamour Collection: Carole Lombard were both announced concurrently with the Mae West set). So hop to it, Universal! Fans of all three of these ladies are anxiously awaiting more.
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116 of 140 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Before you get too excited..., April 4, 2006
By 
Damon Devine (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mae West - The Glamour Collection (Go West Young Man/ Goin' To Town/ I'm No Angel/ My Little Chickadee/ Night After Night) (DVD)
First.....it is NEVER a good idea to review ANY DVD title before it's released, as so many seem to have done for these latest Mae West titles. Unfortunately, they will have to eat most of their words, now that it has been released.

I am a HUGE Mae West devotee, with one of the biggest Mae West collections in the world (even have her tattooed on my arm!). That's why I was highly suspicious when five of her films were going to be released on DVD for such a small price. Why so cheap? And why re-release I'm No Angel and My Little Chickadee that are already out on DVD? And why not release one of her most loved films, 'She Done Him Wrong'?

Well, my fellow MW fans...what you might suspect, is true. These are NOT remastered by any stretch of the imagination, and are no clearer than the VHS versions. As well, they are on TWO DVD's and only a strange plastic divider separates them. You will always be worried you will accidentally scratch them. Only a few titles have the original trailers included, and the quality of them is GHASTLY. REALLY bad. There are also no extras. Wouldn't you have died for a glimpse at a few rare deleted scenes!? Or maybe some great newsreel footage?

What is good about this "boxed" set? Not much, other than it is Mae West, an American institution, who always delivers the goods. Also...it's nice to have these titles "preserved" on DVD, even if the quiality is far from remastered. It is clear that Universal wanted to make a quick buck and slapped together a semi-fancy outer package, housing less than high quality DVD's inside. Let's hope they get serious next time and release ALL of Mae West's Paramount titles, digitally remastered in a gorgeous boxed set. Mae West deserves that, and we as consumers (and fans) do too.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it's enough to make me avoid this temptation--unless, of course, I can't resist it, May 31, 2008
By 
Matthew G. Sherwin (last seen screaming at Amazon customer service) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
My Little Chickadee is a very good film starring W.C. Fields and Mae West. Sure, maybe the rumors are true that they didn't like each other; but you'd never know it when you watch this movie. Their on screen chemistry is good and the plot moves along at a good pace. It held my attention every step of the way and the acting is very convincing as well.

The action begins when Flower Belle Lee (Mae West) is kidnapped by the masked bandit when he holds up her stagecoach. Amazingly enough, Flower Belle returns that night unharmed--and a love affair starts to blossom between her and the masked bandit! He has even given Flower Belle some of the gold he stole from the stagecoach. The people of Little Bend finally give up on Flower Belle when she is caught after she obviously had another tryst with the masked bandit. She is not allowed to return to Little Bend until she is "respectable"--and married.

Flower Belle boards the train to Greasewood with her escort Mrs. Gideon (Margaret Hamilton) and she fakes a marriage along the way to a ne'er-do-well Cuthbert J. Twillie (W.C. Fields), a complete stranger she meets on the train--but she thinks Cuthbert has money so they have a wedding with a fake preacher just so Flower Belle can get her hands on that money--and she does, only to find out it was as fake as her marriage to Twillie! Flower Belle has some time avoiding Twillie who wants to consummate their "marriage;" but true to form Flower Belle always manages to get out of THAT situation.

Moreover, Flower Belle meets two men in Greasewood who catch her eye--the straight and narrow good guy Wayne Carter (Dick Foran) and the owner of a huge saloon and party club, Jeff Badger (Joseph Calleia). All sorts of interesting scenes ensue as the two men pursue Flower Belle and flirt with her even though they still think she is actually married to Twillie. Badger even makes Twillie the town's new sheriff because that's the quickest way to bump him off--and get Flower Belle to be his wife!

Of course, from here the plot can go anywhere. Will Twillie survive being sheriff? Will Flower Belle eventually be free of Twillie to marry either Badger or Wayne Carter? What about Mrs. Gideon--will she cause trouble for Flower Belle as she flirts with all these men? No plot spoilers here, folks--watch the movie and find out.

Of course, this VHS tape has no extras. This movie is available on a DVD set called Mae West - The Glamour Collection; but even there according to the reviewers there is only the extra of the original trailer for this movie.

My Little Chickadee is an entertaining film with lots of action, comedy, suspense and great acting. Mae West and W.C. Fields fans will love this film; and fans of classic movies in general will also enjoy this movie.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Long live the Curmudgeon!, January 13, 2005
By 
Usonian33 (United States) - See all my reviews
Most of these films were on VHS for years, so maybe they could have tacked on one of Field's more elusive movies as a purchase incentive ("Mississippi" anyone?). No matter, I'm excited to get my hands on 3 of the 5 included here. The transfers all look super.

IT'S A GIFT: My favorite. The only thing funnier than Fields is watching his shrewish wife Kathleen Howard nag him. The blind Mr. Merkle's visit to the store is a glorious piece of non-PC humor. Heaven.

BANK DICK: Fields was a true auteur. This movie is the culmination of his style, loaded with double-entendres, alcoholic humor, nightmarish family members, and various idiotic characters that come and go.

INTERNATIONAL HOUSE: Think of this as the Fields version of "Grand Hotel." I've always wallowed in the film's total sense of anarchy, and its badness becomes endearing after a few highballs. Very similar to Paramount's "Big Broadcast" films. Be warned there is something called "Girls in Cellophane" in the cast.

YOU CAN'T CHEAT AN HONEST MAN: Not a huge advocate of watching ventriloquists, even if he is Murphy Brown's dad. A good "second feature" to pair with one of the better films.

MY LITTLE CHICKADEE: Better than I remembered. Sanitized Mae West is better than none. For a sample of just how much they sanitized her, watch the trailer--there's a funny, innocuous line from her shoot-out on the train that didnt make the finished film, surely because it could have been mistaken in a sexual context. Fields' entrance into the story is classic.

Hope this set sells well. Fields was one of the great humorists of the 20th century, and his work deserves to be available to the public.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Felicitous Turn of Events!, December 13, 2005
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Having very little exposure to Fields prior to viewing this box set, I was delighted with what I saw. Fields created the most profound & meandering character, making him ahead of his time & setting him apart from other comics. People liked recalling Fields' meanness, but upon observation it was clear that he rarely retaliated unless he was provoked--and even then, he'd try to "smile" his way out of unpleasant situations. I must admit, I admire Fields for having the guts to poke fun at such sacred institutions as children, religion, politics & water (Fields once remarked: "Alcohol's my drink. I never drink water: fish make love in it!"). It was fields' genius that turned "the Bank Dick"--the film in which Fields wanders from one cockamamie situation to the next--into a remarkable classic. But an earlier film, "It's A Gift", is the one that has a soft spot in my heart. It's the perfect example of placing the entire movie solely on the shoulders of a beleaguered character and thru luck and circumstance, winds up coming out on top in the end. The "general store" scene, the "porch scene", and Fields' efforts to shave while sharing the bathroom with his teenage daughter--to name a few--are hilarious. And Fields was at an advantage too, for unlike other comedians of his time, his screen personality was not hampered by old age. Even in his 60's, his hands were graceful & quick (witness in his films how he easily manipulated such items as a cane and hat, thanks to spending years on the road as a comic juggler). It usually takes more than one viewing to catch all the classic Fields lines, for he often mumbles things under his breath. But his delivery & originality of those lines made them his & his alone. Fields was--and still is--a national treasure, and this collection is among the best I've seen.

One complaint: Where is "Never Give A Sucker an Even Break?" Or such rarities as "The Man on the Flying Trapeze", "Poppy" and "The Old-Fashioned Way"? The only way to redeem this over-sight is to release "Volume 2"!!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dream of Fields, November 29, 2004
By 
J. Michael Click (Pineville, Missouri, USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Movies: ***** Extra Features: **** DVD Quality: *****

A wonderful boxed set of five movies that offer a marvelous sampling of The Great Man's work. Die-hard fans will argue over the issue of which Fields favorites were included and which were left out, but one thing is certain: there are hours worth of laughs and entertainment here! What's more, each of the five films has been expertly transferred to DVD. Audio and visual quality is excellent throughout. The extra features are a bit less than one might hope for, just the Theatrical Trailers to 3 of the films ("International House", "You Can't Cheat an Honest Man", and My Little Chickadee") and best of all, the A & E Biography segment, "W. C. Fields: Behind the Laughter". Overall, it's a wonderful collection designed to showcase Fields' unique talents for old fans and new devotees alike, and well worth adding to your DVD collection.
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