You’re Telling Me (1934)

You’re Telling Me (1934)

“I have more pride than to marry into a family that thinks they’re too good for me!”

The daughter (Joan Marsh) of a poor inventor (W.C. Fields) finds her engagement compromised when the snooty mother (Kathleen Howard) of her fiancee (Buster Crabbe) disdains her family. Meanwhile, on the way home from a failed attempt to market his new puncture-proof tires, Fields befriends a kind princess (Adrienne Ames) who ends up saving the day.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Class Relations
  • Comedy
  • Cross-Class Romance
  • Do-Gooders
  • Henpecked Husbands
  • Inventors
  • Mistaken Identities
  • Royalty and Nobility
  • W.C. Fields Films

Perhaps the most kindhearted of all of W.C. Fields’ comedies, You’re Telling Me tells a surprisingly sweet fairy tale about a well-meaning — if overly prone to tippling — henpecked husband who treats a strange woman with kindness (not knowing she’s really a princess), and finds himself amply rewarded in return. At just over an hour, the story is slight but nicely told; the addition of a classically Fieldsian comedic golfing sketch near the end seems gratuitous, but can fairly easily be forgiven as expected by his fans. Meanwhile, Ames — a real-life socialite and model who essentially played variations on herself onscreen — possesses an infectious charm, and is always pleasing to watch; who wouldn’t want a fairy princess like her to waltz into their life?

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • A surprisingly sweet tale of Good Samaritanism

Must See?
No, though it’s an amiable enough little comedy, and worth a watch if you’re in the mood.


One thought on “You’re Telling Me (1934)

  1. First viewing. Not a must.

    The princess plus added (just in time) to this very, very standard Fields flick is indeed a very welcome relief. In fact, her first scene on the train with Fields could be the film’s highlight: we get to focus on just the two of them, Fields is refreshingly humanized in an interesting way and the charm of the princess is nicely established.

    Unfortunately, from that point on, the princess is more or less on the sidelines and the film returns to standard Fields territory.

    As noted, the lengthy golfing sequence at the end is indeed “gratuitous”; it feels like the one-note gag will never end. In fact, at a mere 68 minutes, ‘YTM’ – full as it is of sub-par material – feels double its length.

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