Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Frequently and misleadingly advertised as a W.C. Fields vehicle, Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch confines the Great Man's appearance to the final two reels. The rest of the picture is a ploddingly paced adaptation of the hoary old Anne Hagan Rice novel about how wonderful it is to be poor. In a rare movie appearance, the great stage star Pauline Lord plays Mrs. Wiggs, the impecunious but ever-optimistic matriarch of a large, fatherless brood. Though creditors constantly hound Mrs. Wiggs, she remains firmly confident that all family problems will be resolved when her long-missing husband (Donald Meek) returns from his unexplained odyssey. It's quite a chore for our heroine to put on a happy face, especially after the death of the sickliest Wiggs child (George Breakstone), but she does -- and miracle of miracles, her faith in the elusive Mr. Wiggs turns out to be well-founded (though not intentionally so). W.C. Fields is cast as touring actor Mr. Stubbins the "mail-order husband" of Mrs Wiggs' spinsterish friend Miss Hazy (ZaSu Pitts). Once Fields shows up on screen, demanding a gourmet meal from poor Miss Hazy (who's never cooked anything in her life!) all the film's shortcomings and maudlin passages can be forgiven. W.C.'s best line: "The theatre was so packed, the audience couldn't applaud this way?" (claps sideways) "?They had to applaud this way." (claps up and down). Previously filmed in 1914 and 1919, Mrs.Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch was remade with Fay Bainter in 1942.
abandonment, child-rearing, family, holiday, husband, mother, poverty, single-parent, survivor