Although he really didn't make all that many films compared to the likes of Laurel and Hardy or Buster Keaton, W. C. Fields did several amazingly funny and wonderful films. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least three or four that are bona fide classics--nearly perfect comedies. Among these, this film is my very favorite. The film concerns poor Mr. Bissonette--a much more likable and put-upon character than usual for Fields. He's basically a good hardworking man who tries his best to care for his family, though through most of the film, he gets little thanks for his efforts. In the first portion of the film, he's a grocery store owner who has to deal with a lot of difficult customers. My favorite of these is Mr. Muckle, the blind and hard of hearing man. While this is far from "politically correct", the scene where Muckle destroys the store is hilarious and you have to see it to appreciate it. Apart from running the store, we see Fields in a lot of mundane activities that should not be funny (such as trying to get a good night's sleep)--but with his wonderful delivery and sense of timing, it can't help but make you laugh.
In the last portion, Fields takes his family to "the promised land"--to California to the orange ranch he bought sight unseen. Despite years of very hard work to earn the money for the land, of course there is a catch and his dream isn't quite all it's cracked up to be. However, remember that this is a film co-written by Fields and his drunk "everyman" character is going to somehow succeed just like he did in so many other films--it's the HOW that you'll just have to see for yourself.
The film has some wonderful supporting performances, but for the most part, this film is Fields. He single-handedly keeps the film going and his timing and talents are immense. Give this one a chance and get ready to laugh.
Also, despite the same titles, don't mix this one up with the great silent short from Snub Pollard--also a must-see for old time comedy fans. However, "It's a Gift" was originally a silent film called "The Old Army Game" and it's also a terrific film.
It's a Gift
It's a Gift
The owner of a general store (Harold Bisonette) is hounded by his status-anxious wife ("That's 'Bee-soh-nay'" and "I have no maid you know"). To get some sleep he goes out on the porch where he is tormented by a little boy from the floor above (Baby Dunk) and an insurance salesman down below ("LaFong. Capital L, small a..."). He uses an inheritance to buy an orange ranch through the mail, then drives off with his family for California. The orange grove consists of a withered tree, the ranch house is but a shack, and the car falls to pieces. But a racetrack operator wants the land, so all ends happily. —Ed Stephan
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
December 06, 2021 at 03:25 PM