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It's a Gift

Released Nov 17, 1934 1h 13m Comedy List
94% Tomatometer 16 Reviews 76% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings Harold Bissonette (W.C. Fields) is the owner of a small-town grocery store, husband of a harassing wife (Kathleen Howard) and father of two spoiled children, and his customers aren't much better. When Bissonette has the opportunity to buy an orange grove in California, he jumps at the chance to move across the country -- at the very least, to avoid an annoying insurance salesman (T. Roy Barnes). Unfortunately for him, the orange grove is not what he expected. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

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Nell Minow Movie Mom Rated: 5/5 Oct 2, 2004 Full Review Matt Brunson Film Frenzy Essential Fields. Rated: 4/4 Nov 13, 2021 Full Review Mike Massie Gone With The Twins Fields' efforts to turn little episodes of funny catastrophes into a feature-length film result in disparate concepts strung together with little regard for a cohesive plot. Rated: 4/10 Jun 28, 2021 Full Review A.S. Hamrah n+1 There isn't a better illustration of unsparing W. C. Fields comedy than this portrait of Mr. Muckle, a hostile, uncontrollable blind man. Jan 26, 2021 Full Review Meyer Levin (Patterson Murphy) Esquire Magazine W. C. Fields, solemn and screwy. Swell back porch noise sequence. Apr 20, 2020 Full Review Ann Ross Maclean's Magazine It is true Mr. Fields repeats himself a great deal in his new picture It's a Gift, but, even so, W. C. Fields repeating himself is usually a lot fresher than an ordinary comedian thinking up something suddenly for the first time. Oct 11, 2019 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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Denny S Fields made several films, but this one -- "It A Gift" along with "The Bank Dick" -- rank as his two greatest films. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 01/29/24 Full Review Mark A W.C. Fields is hilarious! Rated 4 out of 5 stars 12/16/22 Full Review barry t Just as funny now as when it was released Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member I think only in The Bank Dick was W.C. Fields more henpecked than he is in It's A Gift. He also has a perfect foil for his brand of humor in Kathleen Howard as his wife in the second of three films she did with the man from Philadelphia. In this film more than most of Fields's films I think the real secret of his comedy comes out. I can't think of a single funny line from It's A Gift worth remembering. But what does stick with you are all the gestures and expressions with his body and face that Fields gives us to show the hellhole of his married state. Kathleen Howard in fact doesn't let the poor guy get a word in edgewise. What a motormouth that woman had, constantly finding fault and running him down from the first to the last minute of the movie. Right at the beginning of the film the poor guy can't even have the bathroom to himself as kids and wife just barge in on him with their problems and complaints. In that scene where Fields is trying to shave, to later on when he goes out on the porch hammock to get some peace and quiet, it's nothing in what he says, but in all the reaction shots where the comedy comes from. Even in the famous scene at the general store with the blind man Mr. Muckle. The comedy is all in Fields's reactions to Muckle running amuck. Trying not to say anything to observe political correctness. Remember Muckle is also identified as the house detective in the hotel across the street. Kathleen Howard serves as Fields's greatest foil, no wonder he did three films with her. Note how Hyacinth like she is in insisting that her name Bissonette be pronounced Bissonay. Still Fields pursues the American dream and when Uncle Bean dies and wills him some California property, he loads up the truck and moves to, well not Beverly Hills, but close enough so he can get an orange grove and grow them. It comes about in an interesting way that you have to see the film for. It's A Gift is one of the finest efforts of America's most beloved misanthropes. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/08/23 Full Review Sameir A A very funny movie of those times starring W.C. Fields. Once you watch you are going to search for more of his films. There are problems of the time, but, it doesn't matter. Very enjoyable. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 11/23/21 Full Review david l It's a Gift is an early 30s comedy that basically has no plot as it consists of a variety of gags, some better than others, but the highlight was that excellent second act in that building that was superbly utilized into the humorous situations. The movie looks good and it is quite charming and amusing, but the wildly uneven acting from its cast was a big problem as Kathleen Howard's extreme overacting clashed heavily against the more subtle and competent performance from W. C. Fields himself. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews
It's a Gift

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Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis Harold Bissonette (W.C. Fields) is the owner of a small-town grocery store, husband of a harassing wife (Kathleen Howard) and father of two spoiled children, and his customers aren't much better. When Bissonette has the opportunity to buy an orange grove in California, he jumps at the chance to move across the country -- at the very least, to avoid an annoying insurance salesman (T. Roy Barnes). Unfortunately for him, the orange grove is not what he expected.
Director
Norman Z. McLeod
Producer
William LeBaron
Screenwriter
Jack Cunningham
Production Co
Paramount Pictures
Genre
Comedy
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Nov 17, 1934, Original
Release Date (DVD)
Nov 9, 2004
Runtime
1h 13m