Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Running Wild bears a marked resemblance to One Glorious Day, a 1923 Will Rogers vehicle. W.C. Fields stars as a henpecked family man, browbeaten both at home and at work. Only his daughter Mary Brian truly cares about Fields, and he reciprocates by showering most of his familial affection on her. While attending a vaudeville show, Fields volunteers to subject himself to a stage hypnotist. While under a hypnotic spell, Fields' worm turns, and he becomes an aggressive "King of the Castle" type with his family and his employer. Once the spell is broken, Fields reverts to his meek self--then discovers that his boss, impressed by his go-getting "alter ego," has offered him a better position at higher salary. Putting his selfish family in their proper place, Fields remains the don't-mess-with-me tyro that he'd been while hypnotized, and in so doing smooths the path of the romance between daughter Brian and her handsome beau Claude Buchanan. Considering the potential of the actor/director team of W.C. Fields and Gregory LaCava, Running Wild isn't quite as wonderfully anarchistic as we'd like it to be, but Fields (sporting the obnoxious little mustache that he favored in his silent films) is always a delight to watch, especially when venting his pent-up rage against his impossible family. The actor would rework many of the elements in Running Wild into his 1935 talkie Man on the Flying Trapeze, which also co-starred Mary Brian.
milquetoast, courage, coward, hypnosis, family, transformation, friendship, life-choices