“He ain’t gonna let you set foot on that stage — all he wants is your money, Mrs. Pepperday!”
The fugitive manager (W.C. Fields) of a struggling theatre troupe deceives a wealthy aspiring singer (Jan Duggan) into believing he will give her a part in his play.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Actors and Actresses
- Aspiring Stars
- W.C. Fields Films
This little-seen W.C. Fields classic is dearly beloved by Fields’ fans, primarily because it’s the only movie to showcase the comedian’s origins as a traveling performer and juggler. While it contains several moments of genuine humor, however, I found the film disappointing as a whole; it’s not nearly as consistently amusing as his better-known titles. Only recommended for hardcore W.C. Fields fans.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- An affectionate tribute to turn-of-the-century melodramas
- Fields doing his famous cigar-box balancing act
- Cleopatra Pepperday (Duggan) singing the interminable “seashell song”
No. Though Peary lists this as both a film with Historical Importance and a Personal Recommendation (and quite a few contributors on IMDb seem to concur), I think it’s only must-see viewing for true W.C. Fields fans. Peary — who clearly IS a diehard Fields fan — nominates his performance here for an Alternate Oscar.