YES, YES, YES!! About time!
Greg Horn | waterford, wisconsin USA | 08/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well THANK YOU UNIVERSAL!!! It's about time!!! W.C. Fields is one of THE greatest comedians EVER, yet his catalog has been grossly overlooked. I can be certain with Universal issuing these the quality will be top notch. Criterion had already issued The Bank Dick, so I'm not sure why it's on here too, but I won't complain as the other 4 are certainly worth the price of admission!
Now, PLEASE continue to release the many other Fields movies that are out there. I'm really hoping this is only 1 of several volumes that will be issued.
Any and all Fields fans should buy this, buy another 1 or 2 for gifts to family and friends, the better this release does the better chances of more to follow!
And if you haven't seen Fields ever??? You have to buy this, this man is one of THE building blocks of all modern comedy!
MUST SEE CLASSIC CINEMA! Fields slow burn style of comedy is a drastic opposite to today's modern, cheap, "fast food" style of comedy. Today's comedy is a quick laugh and it's over, never as funny the second time around, but with Fields, each viewing makes you laugh more as you start to relate pesonally to W.C. and all his trials and tribulations of life that he interweaves into his comedy.
On a personal level Fields as a comedian sneaks into your heart and mind causing you to develop a rapport with him and the daily events of life that shape and mold all of us to a certain extent. Fields, in his never ending struggle for control of those daily events brings about some of the most classic comedy ever to be captured on film. This my friends is THE golden age of comedy captured for all to enjoy, do not miss it.
I've watched all the discs now and quality is as good as it's going to get, very, very good. The packaging is very nicely done too.
As far as the choice of movies included... Well it's too bad they put the Bank Dick in taking a spot away from another possible inclusion, seeing a high quality Criterion Collection version is already available. International House is a scream, I've always liked it, not so sure it is a "fit" in a Fields collection however, but his material is very good in the movie. Perhaps 3 more collections can come out making enough room in each of the collections for movies like this where Fields only had a part in them.
Someone mentioned Six Of A Kind, IT IS available on DVD as part of the Burns Allen collection, as well as The Big Broadcast, Sally Of The Sawdust, and 6 shorts Fileds on Criterion Collection which is superb quality.
NOW, it is a must that all fans e-mail Universal and ask for MORE releases!!!!!!!! Here's what we need in no particular order.
2.Man On The Flying Trapeze
3.You're Telling Me
4.The Old Fashioned Way
6.Tillie And Gus
7.Never Give a Sucker An Even Break
8.If I Had A Million
9.Tales Of Manhattan
10.Her Majesty Love
11.Song Of The Open Road
12.Sensations of 1945
13.Alice In Wonderland
14.It's The Old Army Game
15.Follow The Boys
17.Million Dollar Legs
It can be seen that there is enough material for 3 more collections. PLEASE UNIVERSAL!!!!!!!
A Real Treasure Trove of Comedy
David Baldwin | Philadelphia,PA USA | 11/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Universal released this set in conjunction with a Marx Brothers collection. It is to my surprise that the W.C. Fields set is the more satisfying of the two. Fields was a true original. Nobody in film history has matched his whimsically soused and often caustic approach to comedy. To reiterate what an earlier reviewer stated I hope somebody packages some of Fields other work but this is an excellent primer for someone unfamiliar with his work. The extras in this package are slight; a few trailers and a not bad "Biography" segment.
International House: Essentially a review featuring the "stars" of the day. The connecting plot is an early demonstration of televison at a hotel in China. Fields is the obvious stand-out but Burns and Allen have some amusing routines and Cab Calloway's abbreviated performance of "Reefer Man" is of interest. Not a classic, but deserves to be seen at least once. Four stars.
It's a Gift: This is one of the funniest films of all-time. The story concerns Fields' grocer who has dreams of owning an orange grove and has to deal with his overbearing family. One uproarious set-piece here follows another. Five stars.
You Can't Cheat an Honest Man: This time Fields plays a slick circus owner one step ahead of the law. Fields' shtick here is good for awhile but starts to wear thin as the movie progresses. The film is saved somewhat by the routines of Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. Four stars.
My Little Chickadee: The weak link in the set. Fields and co-star Mae West have zero chemistry in this western comedy. It seems like the two of them are acting at cross purposes in two different movies. Two stars.
The Bank Dick: Back in classic territory. Here, Fields seems a little dissipated but his timing is still impeccable. Basically, his character is a ne'er do-well bank guard who through circumstance, guile, and sheer luck manages to come out
on top. Like "It's a Gift", this film contains one hilarious set-piece after another. Five stars."
Long live the Curmudgeon!
Usonian33 | United States | 01/13/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Most of these films were on VHS for years, so maybe they could have tacked on one of Field's more elusive movies as a purchase incentive ("Mississippi" anyone?). No matter, I'm excited to get my hands on 3 of the 5 included here. The transfers all look super.
IT'S A GIFT: My favorite. The only thing funnier than Fields is watching his shrewish wife Kathleen Howard nag him. The blind Mr. Merkle's visit to the store is a glorious piece of non-PC humor. Heaven.
BANK DICK: Fields was a true auteur. This movie is the culmination of his style, loaded with double-entendres, alcoholic humor, nightmarish family members, and various idiotic characters that come and go.
INTERNATIONAL HOUSE: Think of this as the Fields version of "Grand Hotel." I've always wallowed in the film's total sense of anarchy, and its badness becomes endearing after a few highballs. Very similar to Paramount's "Big Broadcast" films. Be warned there is something called "Girls in Cellophane" in the cast.
YOU CAN'T CHEAT AN HONEST MAN: Not a huge advocate of watching ventriloquists, even if he is Murphy Brown's dad. A good "second feature" to pair with one of the better films.
MY LITTLE CHICKADEE: Better than I remembered. Sanitized Mae West is better than none. For a sample of just how much they sanitized her, watch the trailer--there's a funny, innocuous line from her shoot-out on the train that didnt make the finished film, surely because it could have been mistaken in a sexual context. Fields' entrance into the story is classic.
Hope this set sells well. Fields was one of the great humorists of the 20th century, and his work deserves to be available to the public.
Dream of Fields
J. Michael Click | Fort Worth, Texas United States | 11/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Movies: ***** Extra Features: **** DVD Quality: *****
A wonderful boxed set of five movies that offer a marvelous sampling of The Great Man's work. Die-hard fans will argue over the issue of which Fields favorites were included and which were left out, but one thing is certain: there are hours worth of laughs and entertainment here! What's more, each of the five films has been expertly transferred to DVD. Audio and visual quality is excellent throughout. The extra features are a bit less than one might hope for, just the Theatrical Trailers to 3 of the films ("International House", "You Can't Cheat an Honest Man", and My Little Chickadee") and best of all, the A & E Biography segment, "W. C. Fields: Behind the Laughter". Overall, it's a wonderful collection designed to showcase Fields' unique talents for old fans and new devotees alike, and well worth adding to your DVD collection."