in about 100 words or less
US 11m, B&W, Silent
Director: Edwin Middleton; Cast: W.C. Fields, Bud Ross, Marian West
Pool Sharks is the earliest known surviving W.C. Fields film, and in it, Fields and fellow suitor Bud Ross, compete for the attentions of the same woman. After some initial slapstick shenanigans in which they make a shambles of a picnic, they head to the pool room to settle the score, each unsuspecting that the other is a pool shark. In employing stop-motion photography, the trick shots escalate to absurdity before a fight breaks out that unintentionally brings their fair lady into the mix. The film relies a little too heavily on special effects and not enough on Field’s himself, who at 35 years of age, looking fit and adorned with a large fake mustache, has yet to develop his film personae (Klaus Ming March 2015).