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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cinema Spotlight-WC Field's It's A Gift

“The advantages of whiskey over dogs are legion. Whiskey does not need 
to be periodically wormed, it does not need to be fed, it never requires a 
special kennel, it has no toenails to be clipped or coat to be stripped. 
Whiskey sits quietly in its special nook until you want it. True, whiskey 
has a nasty habit of running out, but then so does a dog.”

WC Fields

WC Fields is of course notorious for his dislike of children and dogs, whether the dislike was true of the real Field's or just a part of the curmudgeonly character he played is a mystery. However, despite the fact that the second part of this sentiment troubles me a bit, I remain a big fan of Field's.  His movies are some of my all time favorites and he gets my vote for funniest man of all time. 

My favorite Field's film, 1934's It's A Gift, has among other merits a canine character that I think is one of the best in cinema history.  In the film Field's plays his typical role, a middle aged hen-picked husband with a fondness for the bottle.  Harold Bissonette is saddled with a shrewish wife, a love struck teenager daughter, a rambunctious young son, and bothersome neighbors as demonstrated in this famous porch sequence.  Poor Harold just wants to take a nap but an escalating parade of interruptions makes it impossible.

The Bisonnette family also has among its number, an all american family dog.  A pit bull mix  named Buster.

Over the course of the film Harold inherits a large amount of money from his uncle and as a result of sells his New Jersey corner grocery store and packs his family up, dog included, to drive across country to the California orange grove of his dreams.  Over the course of the road trip the family gets involved in a number of humorous entanglements.  My favorite of which involves the family inadvertently picnicking on a private estate.  Over the course of the meal Fields and the dog get into a tug of war with one of his wife feather pillows.  Field's wife's line:  "Harold those where my mother's feathers?"  Field's response: "I didn't know your mother had feathers." 

By the end of the film Bisonnette family has sold their ramshackle orange ranch for a fortune and the film ends with Harold and Buster sharing an orange over breakfast in their mansion.  A great shot of man and man's best friend.

I just wanted to add a note I am working extra hours and may not make it around to all your blogs. 


  1. Have to admit I'm not a fan of Fields. However, I adore your header image!

  2. Hahaha, that "feathers" scene is so funny :-)
    The breakfast scene is very sweet!

  3. I love this story and your blog. Such a novel and interesting concept.

  4. You have the best interesting stuff to look at!

  5. I love all the interesting things you bring to your blog :) xxooxxx

    Mollie and Alfie

  6. That dog and whisky quote is very funny. Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  7. Ah! But dogs do not cause a hang over

  8. That looks like a great film, I will have to watch it if it is on tv here.
    Lynne x


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