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Poppy

(1936 b 74')

En: 5 Ed: 4


Adapted from Dorothy Donnelly's play, a tonic salesman tries to get his daughter to inherit a rich estate.

In 1883 Eustace McGargle (W. C. Fields) gives his daughter Poppy (Rochelle Hudson) a playing card for the hole in her shoe. McGargle finds a dog and takes him into a bar. The dog talks, and McGargle sells him for $20. Billy Farnsworth (Richard Cromwell) races a buggy, causing Poppy to fall in the stream. Billy carries her out. McGargle is pushed off his platform but gets the concession and $10. McGargle and Poppy eat hot dogs but don't pay. Poppy sings "A Rendezvous with a Dream," and Poppy sells a scientific tonic. Billy talks with Poppy. McGargle learns that Countess Maggie Tubbs DePuizzi (Catherine Doucet) has money and calls on her. McGargle gets $5 more from the gardener. McGargle plays croquet, but the mallet head keeps coming off. Billy and Poppy ride on the carousel until he leaves with his parents and his girlfriend. Sarah Tucker (Maude Eburne) offers Poppy a chicken dinner, and they break dishes. Whiffen (Lynne Overman) tells McGargle that Maggie's money belongs to Katie Putnam, who has a daughter.

McGargle fills out a marriage certificate, but lawyer Whiffen advises him not to. Poppy likes Sarah's house. Whiffen brings Mayor Farnsworth (Granville Bates) to McGargle, who describes his wife with Whiffen's help. McGargle shows the Mayor his marriage certificate. Poppy tells Billy they are leaving, and Billy asks her to marry. Poppy is shown the mansion she inherited. McGargle sends out invitations and tries to dress. Maggie asks Poppy if she is happy and arranges the place cards. Poppy is called a carnival girl and loses Billy. Poppy sings again sadly as she looks at Billy. Whiffen asks Maggie to be his wife and offers her the Putnam fortune; she agrees. McGargle plays his kadoola, but his hat keeps rolling back. Poppy asks to leave with McGargle. The Mayor begins to make an announcement when Whiffen exposes McGargle's certificate as a fraud. Poppy admits she is a carnival girl. Sarah sees Poppy's locket of her mother. McGargle tells Poppy he is not her father but found her in the circus. McGargle flees from men. Billy tells Poppy he is going to marry her. Sarah proves that Poppy is the heiress, and Maggie faints. McGargle is brought back. McGargle advises Poppy and walks out with a cigar.

The comedic talent of W. C. Fields is diverting. Perhaps the greatest irony of the story is that attorney Whiffle marries Maggie to gain a fortune but gets her without it. The innocence of Poppy is rewarded, and despite the deceit of McGargle he may benefit from having raised her.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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