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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

IT’S A GIFT (1933)

Probably the purest of the W. C. Fields Paramount pics (though without a speck of juggling, alas), this one shows some real concern for what you might call "the shape of comedy," even if it parses neatly into five one-reelers: Fields & the family at breakfast, Fields at his grocery store, Fields trying/failing to sleep on his porch, Fields’ cross-country drive, Fields hits bottom at his new California home just as Lady Luck comes to call. While nothing can top the blindman destroying Fields’ store, four or five bits come mighty close ("La Fong, Carl La Fong!,' a camptown serenade, even Baby LeRoy and his son’s damn roller skates that never seem to come off. Director Norman Z. McLeod was no stylist, but coming off MONKEY BUSINESS/'31 and HORSEFEATHERS/'32 with The Marx Bros. he knew how to keep out the way of comic genius.

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