ming movie reviews

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Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941)

US 77m, B&W
Director: Edward F. Cline; Cast: W.C. Fields, Gloria Jean, Leon Errol, Franklin Pangborn, Margaret Dumont

Never-Give-a-SuckerWith its title taken from the last scene of Poppy (1936), Never Give a Sucker an Even Break is a film about film, and a satirical play on the motion picture business. Playing himself, Fields pitches a ridiculous script to a movie studio executive who soundly rejects it, but not before it is played out within the film. As the vehicle for some of the film’s best gags, Fields’ script borrows from many of his previous films, which make it all the funnier premise. In his last starring role, the film generates sympathy for himself as an aging film star, and serves as his swan song – a last reminder of his pioneering contributions to the film industry as one of its greatest comedians (Klaus Ming January 2015).

6 comments on “Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941)

  1. Hoosier X

    This movie is HILARIOUS!

    I usually say “It’s a Gift” is my favorite W.C. Fields movie, but it’s actually more of a tie between “It’s a Gift,” “The Bank Dick,” “Never Give a Sucker an Even Break” and “Man on the Flying Trapeze.”

    Even the non-Fields stuff is hilarious! Gloria Jean is pretty damn funny and those two ornery kids, Buddy and Butch, that’s pretty funny too. And I love the movie within the movie! It features Leon Errol and Margaret Dumont and that terrible ape suit that seems to be in every movie from 1935 to 1950 that needed an ape.

    • Klaus

      I hadn’t seen this one in a few years, and think it’s probably my favourite (for now) 🙂

      …and the film pitch in the film idea was most recently used as the premise for Movie 43!

  2. Anthony Lee Collins

    I couldn’t choose my favorite Fields film, but I always have a particular fondness for this one because it so completely discards (and mocks) any conventional ideas of plot or structure.

    I also have to share this, which kills me every time I watch it:

    • Hoosier X

      That clip (with Fields playing pool and explaining how he got the name “Honest John”) is from Six of a Kind, a very funny 1934 movie that also stars Charles Ruggles, George Burns and Gracie Allen. Gracie has all the funniest scenes. Her dog is HILARIOUS.

      • Klaus

        Fields re-used a lot of his material from the silent to the sound era, and it only kept improving!

  3. Klaus

    Heh, heh…yeah love that one! — “Honest John” – Thanks for posting!

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This entry was posted on 01/18/2015 by in 1940s, All, Unlisted and tagged .
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