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Never Give a Sucker an Even Break

(1941 b 70')

En: 6 Ed: 5

Bill tries to sell his peculiar script about him jumping out of a plane and finding a woman who never met a man.

Bill (W. C. Fields) admires the billboard of his last movie but gets his hat trashed. A waitress spills ice water in his lap, and they swap insults. She catches him taking another's hat. At a movie studio the producer (Franklin Pangborn) tries to rehearse singer Gloria Jean (herself) amid noisy set construction. Bill practices with a golf club and tells the producer about his script while a maid cleans the office and takes a phone call.

In the story Bill and Gloria Jean are on an airplane. Bill hits a man with a croquet mallet. Bill tells Gloria Jean he never married because the woman drove him to drink, his consolation. Bill jumps out of the plane to catch his bottle and lands on the bed of Ouilotta Delight Hemogloben (Susan Miller), who has never seen a man before. Bill initiates her into a kissing game until her mother Mrs. Hemogloben (Margaret Dumont) wants to play too. Then Bill jumps into a basket elevator that takes him down the cliff.

The producer says that the script even insults his intelligence. Gloria Jean gets a call from Bill, who learns that Mrs. Hemogloben swore to keep her daughter from men but has money; Leon (Errol) hears this too. On a cart in the country Gloria Jean sings with the Russian peasants. Leon orders for Bill goat milk that is flammable. Young Peter Carson (Charles Lang) and Leon climb the cliff; but a gorilla takes Leon's bottle. Carson climbs over the wall and finds Ouilotta, who shows him the kissing game. Her mother kisses Leon. Ouilotta sings "Coming Through the Rye" and jazzes it up. The producer complains this is unrealistic.

Bill and Gloria Jean go up the cliff elevator that is cranked by Carson and Ouilotta. Bill gives Mrs. Hemogloben flowers, but she sits on his best hat. Ouilotta tells her mother that she wants to marry Carson. Bill wants a double wedding and kicks Leon over the edge. Gloria Jean persuades her uncle Bill not to marry Mrs. Hemogloben, and they go down in the elevator.

The producer rejects Bill's script and stalks out. Bill goes to a counter for a drink but can't get the ice cream out of the soda. The producer tells Gloria Jean that Bill is through, and she hits the producer. Bill drives Gloria Jean and hits a police car. A woman is buying a baby present and asks Bill for a ride to the maternity hospital. He drives like a maniac in a dangerous ride. His car becomes attached to a fire engine's ladder and crashes at the hospital. Gloria Jean says she still loves him.

This last major film of W. C. Fields displays his comedic talent as it satirizes the various unrealistic comic devices that are often exploited.

Copyright © 2002 by Sanderson Beck

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