in about 100 words or less
USA 73m, B&W
Director: Norman Z. McLeod; Cast: W. C. Fields, Kathleen Howard, Jean Rouverol, Julian Madison, Tammany Young
As Harold Bissonette, which his pretentious wife insists must be pronounced “Bis-son-ay”, W.C. Fields is at his best as the henpecked small-town grocer and “Everyman” who has an aversion to children, salesmen, noisy neighbors and canned clams. With the death of his uncle Bean, and the dream of buying an orange grove with money which he inherits almost realized, he and his family set out by car for California to start a new life. Although there are a good number of memorable comedy gags in this film, the movie’s greatest strength is Fields’ continuous banter, as his character Harold endures the daily trials of his life. A reworking of It’s the Old Army Game (1926), “It’s a Life” is more than a series of gags strung together, but rather, a well-integrated and entertaining story (Klaus Ming March 2, 2010).