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Man on the Flying Trapeze

(1935 b 65')

En: 6 Ed: 5

A memory expert has a long day of troubles that include a nagging wife, burglars, being arrested, traffic citations, a flat tire, a black eye, and being fired.

Ambrose Wolfinger (W. C. Fields) drinks in the bathroom, and his wife Leona Wolfinger (Kathleen Howard) nags him. Burglar Legs Garnett (Walter Brennan) meets robber Willie the Weasel (Tammany Young) in the house; they drink and sing. Leona hears and wakes Ambrose to go down. He moves slowly and delays, finding a gun and firing it. Claude Neselrode (Grady Sutton), Cordelia Neselrode (Vera Lewis), and Hope Wolfinger (Mary Brian) come in their bedroom. Cordelia won't let Claude go down. Ambrose calls the patrol but fails to give his address. An officer (Jack Baxley) handcuffs Legs and Willie, joining the singing in the cellar. Ambrose falls down the stairs; he gets a drink and sings too. He won't press charges, but the officer says he must be a witness. They walk to the police station, and the judge sentences Ambrose to thirty days or $30 for making applejack. In jail Ambrose sympathizes with a man who killed his wife. Claude gets a call from the jail, and Hope gets her father Ambrose out. As he lays down, his alarm goes off.

At breakfast Ambrose learns that Claude took his wrestling ticket. In the car Hope tells Ambrose to go to the match. At the office Ambrose uses his great memory to give his boss Malloy (Oscar Apfel) information. Ambrose asks to take off for his mother-in-law's funeral. A cop tells Ambrose to pull over, and he hits a motorcycle. Ambrose gets three tickets and has trouble getting out. Flowers from the office are sent to Leona, and she says Ambrose's mother-in-law is not dead. Ambrose gets a flat tire and chases his spare wheel down a hill. He gets to the wrestling match too late but is knocked down by a flying wrestler. Claude says that Ambrose took his secretary and fell in the gutter. Ambrose denies it but admits he used a funeral as an excuse. Frustrated Ambrose knocks down the lazy Claude. Malloy needs information and want Ambrose; but Peabody (Lucien Littlefield) fired him. Ambrose's secretary (Carlotta Monti) says what happened. Peabody calls Hope to get Ambrose back, and she gets him a raise and a vacation. In the final scene Ambrose drives his car in the rain with Cordelia and Claude in the rumble seat getting wet.

W. C. Fields offers comic relief as a husband hen-pecked by wife and mother-in-law, whom he subconsciously kills by inventing her funeral as an excuse to see wrestling so he might release his pent-up aggression.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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