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  W.C. Fields  
 
 
   
 
 

YOU'RE TELLING ME!

                     
 

Paramount, 1934.  Directed by Earle Kenton.  Camera:  Alfred Gilks.  With W.C. Fields, Joan Marsh, Larry "Buster" Crabbe, Adrienne Ames, Louise Carter, Kathleen Howard, James B. "Pop" Kenton, Robert McKenzie, George Irving, Jerry Stewart, Dell Henderson, Nora Cecil, George MacQuarrie, John M. Sullivan, Vernon Dent, Alfred Delcambre, Tammany Young, Frederic Sullivan, William Robyns.

Sam Bisbee is the worry-ridden head of a family that lives on the wrong side of the tracks.  In an attempt to support his family, he spends  his time on several inventions, such as a keyhole finder for inebriated home-comers.  His lovely daughter adds to the complications of life by falling in love with the son of the town's leading snob.

Just as matters reach their lowest pitch, Sam gets a letter from a rubber company asking for a demonstration of his latest invention, a puncture-proof tire.  He hilariously drives his car to the company's office, and parks it in a non-parking zone.  Later he proudly shoots bullets at the tires.  but his car has been replaced by a police car, an exact replica.  The tires go flat.  In despair he catches a train for home, and decides to commit suicide.

He tries to take his iodine in a collapsible spoon of his own invention.  When the spoon collapses, he decides to face life after all.  Then he sees a beautiful princess with a bottle of iodine.  Rushing into her compartment, he lectures her on the evils of suicide and flings away the iodine, which she wanted to put on her sore finger.

In the end, Sam, with the help of the Princess, makes the social grade, opens a golf course, and receives a fortune for his tire.

The Literary Digest (Argus)
"Adding a curiously convincing quality of pathos to his customary comic brilliance, "W.C. Fields offers one of his finest performances in the new screen play called, for no particular reason, You're Telling Me.  Since the film permits Mr. Fields to play a disreputable inventor of mad devices and gives him an opportunity to appear in almost every scene, it can be very definitely set down as one of the most hilarious and satisfying of the recent motion-pictures.

It is a pleasant enough little fable, of the popular type, celebrating the success saga of the town reprobate, who makes good.  With Mr. Fields permitted to run free and wild throughout its plot manipulations, though, it somehow takes on the qualities of heart-warming delight.  Probably only Mr. Fields, of all the comedians, including Chaplin, could make that scene of attempted suicide hilarious, but, in some magic way, he does perform the miracle.

Everything he does in You're Telling Me is funny.  He is as hilarious when walking silently down the street, slightly under the influence of alcoholic liquor and swaying a little in the breeze, as he is in the midst of that celebrated golf game of his, which is one of the comedy classics of our time.  In addition to being enormously funny, though, he is the creator of a real character.  This fumbling but robust, shrewd but blundering fellow has a rich, hearty, racy quality of Dickensian magnitude.  The new picture offers a full-length portrait of his talents and, on that score, alone, it would be worth attention.  The comedy creations of the story merely go to provide an extra dividend for the film followers.  The work virtually is a monolog for Mr. Fields, but there are helpful performances in the supporting roles."

Newsweek
"W.C. Fields is back on the job of splitting sides with his lugubrious nonsense in his latest movie, You're Telling Me.  The minor characters are all well cast and amusing, but the whole looney (sic) business is just an excuse to prove that W.C. Fields is one of the craziest comedians on earth."

The Films of W.C. Fields
by Donald Deschner
The Citadel Press, New York (1966)