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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

It's a Gift (1934)



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W.C. Fields, one of the great comics of the early days of cinema, was a true one of a kind. His nasally monotone voice, big bulbous nose, and straw hat all contributed to one of the most preposterous personages in film. It's a Gift is one of his best remembered films (I might prefer The Bank Dick by a nose, ha ha), and landed a spot on the AFI's list of 100 funniest movies.

Today's climate of stiflingly political correctness makes me wonder if the time is ripe for a revival of Fields' popularity. Fields was a daring comic in his day, stomping over all kinds of taboos with respect to his character's treatment of children. He'd often kick a kid in the rear and make such retorts as, "Kid, why don't you go play in the street?" He got away with it because the kids in his movies were unfazed by him and usually got the upper hand with kicks and retorts of their own. Still, the act was a sharp contrast with the other, more lovable comics of the day.