Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


W.C. Fields Comedy Collection

Posted on

With his tipped top hat, carelessly knotted cravat, and bulbous nose, William Claude Dukenfield cut a silhouette every bit as recognizable as Charlie Chaplin’s, although his belligerent, scheming drunks never threatened the Little Tramp’s popularity. Like Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Larry David, undoubtedly a Fields disciple, Fields was funniest when hopelessly outmatched. Besieged by scornful wives, loudmouthed neighbors, and demonic children, he’s at his best in It’s a Gift and especially the Fields-scripted The Bank Dick, whose delirious nastiness still draws blood. The tag team of Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy barely keeps pace In You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man, and a defanged Mae West offers little competition in My Little Chickadee. Fields literally crash-lands into International House, a not-so-star-studded hodgepodge, though his valiant destruction comes too late to stop Rudy Vallee serenading a megaphone. Not the Ideal Fields quintet — no collection is complete without Criterion’s 6 Short Films — but even in bad movies, Fields always has a beery bon mot on tap.

EXTRAS The attached A&E Biography promises to go ”behind the laughter,” but interviewing Night Court‘s Harry Anderson might be reaching a bit too far back.

Gift: A-
Bank Dick: A
Honest Man: B
Chickadee: B
International: C