Dropped by Paramount, W.C. Fields moved to Universal for this 1939 circus comedy with Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. According to Fields biographer Simon Louvish, shooting began with a six-page script, which probably accounts for the thin plot involving irate creditors and Fields’s daughter (Constance Moore) agreeing to marry a rich nerd for his money. But there are some solid laughs along the way, particularly Fields’s insult war with Charlie (already a staple on radio) and a manic Ping-Pong game at a society party. Universal is often derided as the low-rent home of Abbott and Costello, but Fields thrived there, continuing on with My Little Chickadee, The Bank Dick, and Never Give a Sucker an Even Break.
You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man
1 hour 16 min