Running Wild 1927
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A browbeaten W.C. Fields gains the roaring courage of a lion thanks to a vaudeville hypnotist in RUNNING WILD (1927), a raucously funny silent comedy. Fields Stars as Elmer Finch, a meek accountant nagged by his wife, harassed by his children, and awed by his boss. After he accidentally throws a horseshoe through a window, the cops are on his tail, and a suitably ridiculous chain of events puts him under the thrall of hypnosis, where he believes himself to be a lion. With newly leonine strength he visits all those who shamed and bullied him, and tries to get a raise in the process. Written and directed by the legendarily witty Gregory La Cava (My May Godfrey), RUNNING WILD is a non-stop laugh riot.
-Mastered in 2K from 35mm film elements preserved by The Library of Congress
-Audio commentary by film historian James L. Neibaur, author of THE W.C. FIELDS FILMS
-New score by Donald Sosin
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The BLM has rounded up and warehoused approx. 100,000 wild horses in long-term holding facilities over the last decade to cater to cattle ranchers that want to raise their livestock on public lands at the expense of wild horses. The prison program only trains and places 60-75 horses per year! Yet the movie suggests wild horse advocates would rather see wild horses die of thirst on the range than be trained and adopted. This is obviously a false narrative. Gee, maybe it has something to do with the fact that Forrest Lucas, the co-owner of ESX Entertainment which made this propaganda, also owns Lucas Cattle Company.
Lucas fails to mention that cattle ranchers have fenced off wild horses from their water sources in many cases to save it for their cows. This has caused more horse deaths than the drought.
He also fails to mention the ratio of cattle-to-horses on public lands is 50-1. Yet we are to believe horses are the cause of destruction on the range, not the MILLIONS of cattle? Might I suggest a remedial math class for Mr. Lucas and Sharon Stone. She plays a nutty wild horse advocate in the film who has nothing better to do with her time than advocate for horses. How disingenuous and pathetic. Please educate yourself on the FACTS of this issue before believing the fraudulent premise of this film. Once again, money interests are dictating public policy at the expense of our public lands.
At a mere 67 minutes, the movie has lots of visual gags, some overdone by Fields, who doesn’t quite know when to move on. “Running Wild” employs plot points that would be incorporated into later Fields films — the battle-ax wife, horrid children, and a transformed character. In this 1927 silent film, Fields’ flair for visual and slapstick comedy is on display, but sorely missed is that unique voice which was so adept at conveying between-the-lines contempt, annoyance, sarcasm, and disgust.
Fields’ sound films have long been available on DVD, but this is an opportunity to see one of this earliest pictures. It was only the eighth one he made. Though the situations in “Running Wild” are often implausible, they serve as the framework for Fields to work in several routines from his vaudeville days.
The black & white Blu-ray release contains audio commentary by film historian James L. Neibauer, author of The W.C. Fields Films. There is an accompanying piano score.
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