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      Never Give a Sucker an Even Break

      1941 1h 11m Comedy List
      100% Tomatometer 14 Reviews 82% Audience Score 500+ Ratings Filmmaker Bill Fields (W.C. Fields) and his lovely niece, Gloria (Gloria Jean), are determined to sell a script to a producer (Franklin Pangborn). As they read the story, it comes to life, and Bill and Gloria are traveling by airplane. They fall out of the plane and land in the mansion of a strange woman, Mrs. Hemogloben (Margaret Dumont) and her equally strange daughter, Ouilotta (Susan Miller). Battling his rival (Leon Errol) and a love-sick gorilla, Bill makes it back to civilization. Read More Read Less

      Critics Reviews

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      James Agee TIME Magazine Fields has spent most of his adult life battling babies, dogs, censors, producers, directors, the world in general. From the shape of his latest picture, it is apparent that he has Universal licked. Feb 27, 2018 Full Review Matt Brunson Film Frenzy Fields is typically great. Unfortunately, a lot of the picture is handed over to 15-year-old singing star Gloria Jean and her tepid musical numbers. Rated: 2.5/4 Jul 20, 2020 Full Review Jeffrey M. Anderson Combustible Celluloid The movie has many solid laughs, and Fields fans will definitely want to see it. Rated: 3.5/4 Jul 17, 2020 Full Review Christopher Null Filmcritic.com Rated: 3.5/5 Sep 26, 2005 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews Refreshingly bizarre. Rated: B Apr 18, 2005 Full Review Daniel M. Kimmel Worcester Telegram & Gazette Rated: 4/5 Feb 27, 2004 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      Denny S Fields made two masterpieces ("It's A Gift" in 1934 and "The Bank Dick" in 1940, the third film of a four-picture deal with Universal). "The Bank Dick" was a hit, so Fields shot the works on what he knew would be his last starring film, 1941's "Never Give A Sucker An Even Break". The works which he shot was an all-out lampooning of the movie industry, with obvious autobiographical references of the fights that he had with the studios. He even played himself! The film is a hodge-podge and not one of his greatest films. Fields was heavier and less mobile than ever before, but still entertaining because he is so naturally funny. The disjointed appearance of the film was party due to Universal's post-production editing in an attempt to make the film more commercial. It was only moderately successful at the time, but it's reputation has grown through the years. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 06/19/23 Full Review Audience Member This is one funny movie! The plot is ridiculous, but W.C. Fields pulls it off. You really need to watch this more than once to get all of the great lines Fields delivers under his breath! An unsung classic that you must see! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/19/23 Full Review Audience Member A meandering, surreal masterpiece of various Hollywood talents. The singing by Gloria Jean (Schoonover) is actually her own singing too! Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/25/23 Full Review Audience Member Is it funny? Or is it just bizarre? Or is it funny because it is just plain bizarre? If you walked into this film without knowing anything about W. C. Fields, how would you make sense of it? Here we find Fields on the "Esoteric Films" lot, playing himself and pitching his next film project to a producer (played by Franklin Pangborn, also playing a version of himself). So, we see what Fields does in Hollywood (e.g., he stands under a billboard for "The Bank Dick" trying to attract compliments, he eats at a greasy spoon) and we get to see a re-enactment of the script that he describes (which finds him chaperoning his niece, Gloria Jean, to Mexico but falling out of a plane and landing on top of a mountain owned by Margaret Dumont). There isn't really a plot to speak of but instead a series of set-ups that allows Fields to mumble his usual snide asides under his breath, to sneak a few drinks, to try to achieve maximum advantage for himself with minimum effort, to drive like a maniac, and so on. In other words, this is the same Fields that audiences had grown to know and love. Pure ridiculousness and with some very odd musical numbers (by young teen Gloria Jean) thrown in. In some ways, the film is all reaction shots - odd things happen and everyone reacts - -with the chief one being the final word from Gloria: "My Uncle Bill....But I Still Love Him!" This turned out to be Fields' final picture as a star and despite his cantankerous, subversive, persona (or because of it), he remains one. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/04/23 Full Review Audience Member Not my favorite Fields flick, but perhaps the weirdest. There's some truly surreal moments (and I wish there were even more) and a pretty solid car chase at the end (of course). I was somewhat disappointed with Margaret Dumont. She actually seems like she knew what was going on. I like her better in the Marx Bros. films where she's always 20 steps behind Groucho. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/18/23 Full Review Audience Member "I didn't squawk about the steak, dear. I merely said I didn't see that old horse that used to be tethered outside here." Bizarre but brilliant. Fields gives free rein to his surreal flights of fancy in his last big film. My favourite moment comes near the end when he goes into an ice cream parlour and breaks the fourth wall: "This scene was supposed to be in a saloon but the censor cut it out..." (They did too!) Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/26/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      Never Give a Sucker an Even Break

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      Cast & Crew

      Movie Info

      Synopsis Filmmaker Bill Fields (W.C. Fields) and his lovely niece, Gloria (Gloria Jean), are determined to sell a script to a producer (Franklin Pangborn). As they read the story, it comes to life, and Bill and Gloria are traveling by airplane. They fall out of the plane and land in the mansion of a strange woman, Mrs. Hemogloben (Margaret Dumont) and her equally strange daughter, Ouilotta (Susan Miller). Battling his rival (Leon Errol) and a love-sick gorilla, Bill makes it back to civilization.
      Director
      Edward F. Cline
      Screenwriter
      Prescott Chaplin, W.C. Fields, John T. Neville
      Production Co
      Universal Pictures
      Genre
      Comedy
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (DVD)
      Mar 20, 2007
      Runtime
      1h 11m
      Sound Mix
      Mono
      Aspect Ratio
      35mm