You're Telling Me (1934)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Screwball Comedy  |   Run Time - 67 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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One of W.C. Fields' best features, You're Telling Me is a comic gem from one of the screen's finest comic performers. It's to be expected that a Fields flick will be funny -- or at the very least that Fields himself will be funny. What's surprising and rewarding about Telling is that it provides the cynical master with one of his most likeable roles. Don't worry -- he's still an oily curmudgeon who's never met a person about whom he can't find something to insult. But there's a slightly softer side to Fields here, both in his dealings with and feelings for his daughter and in the manner in which he "rescues" the Princess from what he misinterprets as a suicidal impulse. This latter scene is especially rewarding; it's still amusing, but there's a vulnerability and tenderness underneath Fields that is not often given this much rein. Like many Fields vehicles, this one is more a series of gags and routines tied around a more or less loose plot; but the vignettes are choice, including a version of his celebrated golf routine, as well as an ostrich sequence that is first class. Fields alone is more than enough reason to watch Telling, but there's also fine support from Adrienne Ames, Kathleen Howard, and Louise Carter, among others, that more than makes up from the rather perfunctory performances of Joan Marsh and Larry "Buster" Crabbe. Thought lost for many years, You're Telling Me's rediscovery in the 1970s gave quite a boost to Fields aficionados hungry for something "new."