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You Can't Cheat an Honest Man

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Product Details

  • Actors: W.C. Fields, Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy, Constance Moore, John Arledge
  • Directors: George Marshall
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC, Limited Edition
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: MCA/Kartes Video Communications
  • Run Time: 79.0 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009ML8FK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #532,960 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Plot Summary for You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939) Larson E. Whipsnade runs a seedy circus which is perpetually in debt. His performers give him nothing but trouble, especially Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. Meanwhile, Whipsnade's son and daughter, Phineas and Vicky, attend a posh college. Vicky turns down her caddish but rich suitor Roger Bel-Goodie, but changes her mind when she learns of her father's financial troubles. Will Vicky marry for money or succumb to the ventriloqual charm of Edgar Bergen? Will Whipsnade's Circus Giganticus make it over the state line one jump ahead of the sheriff? Summary written by Rod Crawford

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By AntiochAndy on February 4, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This is a truly classic comedy featuring W.C. Fields and Edgar Bergen. Fields plays circus proprietor Larson Whipsnade. His circus is not a blazing success, and Whipsnade and company are on the run from the law and on the lam from creditors. Despite all, Whipsnade has managed to keep his son and daughter in college. As the story begins, Whipsnade's son is urging his sister to marry a fellow student who is wooing her. The suitor is from a wealthy family and Whipsnade Jr. sees the marriage as a way to improve the Whipsnade family fortune. Unfortunateley, sis isn't in love with the boy. Instead, she falls for Bergen, who works in dad's circus.
I suppose, if you like Fields but not Bergen, you might think there is too much Bergen & company in this movie and not enough of Fields. Then, again, a Bergen fan might make the opposite argument. Personally, I find them both hilarious. The plot here is rather thin, but the comedy is non-stop. Of course, Whipsnade can't stand Bergen, and Charlie McCarthy is a constant thorn in his side. Similarly, the idea of Whipsnade as Bergen's father-in-law is more than Charlie can take. Both Fields and Bergen get in some classicly funny scenes. Add in a couple of cameo appearances by Mortimer Snerd, a whole load of one-liners, and you one of the best comedies ever filmed.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 1, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
One of the great events to spring from Radio's Golden Age was the long running feud between W.C. Fields and Charlie McCarthy, the wooden alter ego of ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. Universal Pictures took full advantage of this by producing the classic comedy YOU CAN'T CHEAT AN HONEST MAN. Fields plays circus proprietor Larson E. Whipsnade, Bergen plays sideshow star The Great Edgar, and Charlie McCarthy plays Edgar's assistant (and the eternal thorn in Whipsnade's side). When Whipsnade's daughter (Constance Moore) comes to visit, Edgar is smitten with her and the feeling is mutual. Charlie, of course, is disgusted at the idea of Whipsnade being Bergen's father-in- law! Let's not even talk about how Whipsnade feels! This gem of a comedy also features very funny performances from Grady Sutton, as Whipsnade's dimwitted apprentice, and Eddie "Rochester"Anderson as a roustabout called Cheerful. The video transfer is excellent. Now, if only MCA Home Video would release CHARLIE MCARTHY, DETECTIVE!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Scott T. Rivers VINE VOICE on January 6, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
W.C. Fields' "You Can't Cheat An Honest Man" (1939) is a rather schizophrenic affair. As Larson E. Whipsnade, Fields remains his old inimitable self — whether playing high-society ping pong or getting hosed by a circus elephant. However, when he is off-screen for long stretches, the film becomes an Edgar Bergen-Charlie McCarthy vehicle and drags terribly. Though the Fields-McCarthy radio "feuds" have become classics, they do not translate as well in cinematic form. With the exception of a brief reunion in "Song of the Open Road" (1944), it's easy to see why there never was a Fields-Bergen encore on the big screen. "You Can't Cheat An Honest Man" has its moments of hilarity, but a little more Fields would have helped.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Hellevang on July 5, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
I've been a long time Edgar Bergen fan, and was delighted with his performance in this comical movie, "You Can't Cheat an Honest Man". I had never seen W.C. Fields on the screen before, and was also pleasantly surprised by his outragous antics (his hat bit is wonderful). For anyone looking for a good laugh, or a movie for the whole family (litterally-Grandpa & Grandma will remember them, and the children will be introduced to them), this is a great movie to buy or rent.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 7, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This is definatly W.C. Fields at his finest. While the plot maybe is not so great, all of the comedians bring this light hearted comedy to the highest expectations. Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Bergen are at their mischevious, cleverest best. Recommended for anyone who loves old comedies.
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