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It's a Gift Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

W.C. Fields is in fine fettle as small-town grocer Harold Bissonette (pronounced Biss-o-NAY). Harold dreams of becoming a California orange farmer, but his gorgon wife (Kathleen Howard) will have none of it. After a grueling day at the store, during which his electric light stock is destroyed by a cane-wielding blind man (Charles Sellon), and his floor is flooded with molasses by the impish Baby LeRoy, Harold announces that he's sold the store and bought an orange grove. Seeking to escape his wife's nagging, Harold tries to sleep on his porch, which proves impossible thanks to innumerable interruptions--not least of which is an insurance salesman (T. Roy Barnes) loudly asking for Karl LaFong ("capital L, small A, capital F, small O, small N, small G!") The next day, Harold packs his family into the car and heads off for California. Once there, the little band of pilgrims drives onto the property of a wealthy man, assuming that it's a public park. They make a shambles of the grounds while trying to have a picnic, whereupon they are chased off the land by the scowling owner (Guy Usher). Finally, Harold arrives at his "vast" orange grove--consisting of a tumbledown shack and one scrawny tree. Harold sits silently ruminating over his bad luck until his new neighbor informs him that a wealthy land developer wishes to buy Harold's property to build a stadium. "Don't let them bluff you," advises the neighbor. "You can get any price." The potential buyer turns out to be the same fellow whose property had been invaded by Bissonette the day before, but business is business. The buyer offers several insulting sums, but Harold, fortified by a flask of gin, holds firm. "You're drunk!" the buyer shouts. "And you're crazy," responds Harold. "But tomorrow I'll be sober, and you'll always be crazy." Harold's stubbornness saves the day, and we fade on the satisfying sight of the Bissonette family living in luxury on the huge orange grove of Harold's dreams. A remake of Fields' silent Fields, It's a Gift was written by J.P. McEvoy and one Charles Bogle--and there isn't a Fields fancier alive who doesn't know who Charles Bogle really is. Downplayed by detractors as being merely three two-reelers strung together, It's a Gift has survived such piddling criticism to emerge as one of W.C. Fields' funniest efforts, as well as a comedy classic by any standards. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:November 17, 1934

Cast

W.C. Fields
as Harold Bissonette
Jean Rouverol
as Mildred Bissonette
Julian Madison
as John Durston
Kathleen Howard
as Amelia Bissonette
Tommy Bupp
as Norman Bissonette
Guy Usher
as Harry Payne Bosterly
Charles Sellon
as Mr. Muckle
Tammany Young
as Everett Ricks
Dell Henderson
as Mr. Abernathy
James Burke
as Iceman
Spencer Charters
as Gate Guard
Diana Lewis
as Miss Dunk
Jerry Mandy
as Vegetable Man
Patsy O'Byrne
as Mrs. Frobisher
William H. Tooker
as Old Man in Limousine
Morgan Wallace
as Man Who Demands Kumquats
Josephine Whittell
as Mrs. Dunk
Jane Withers
as Hopscotch Girl
Patsy O'Byrne
as Mrs. Frobisher
William H. Tooker
as Old Man in Limousine
Morgan Wallace
as Man Who Demands Kumquats
Josephine Whittell
as Mrs. Dunk
Jerry Mandy
as Vegetable Man
Diana Lewis
as Miss Dunk
Spencer Charters
as Gate Guard
James Burke
as Iceman

Crew

Norman Z. McLeod
Director
William Le Baron
Producer
W.C. Fields
Screenwriter
Henry Sharp
Cinematographer
Hans Dreier
Art Director
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