1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Wiki

The Bank Dick.jpeg

#147. The Bank Dick

  • Year: 1940
  • Country: USA
  • Production: Universal, 74m B&W
  • Director: Edward F. Cline
  • Producer: Jack J. Gross
  • Screenplay: W.C. Fields
  • Photography: Milton R. Krasner
  • Music: Charles Previn
  • Cast: W.C. Fields, Cora Witherspoon, Una Merkel, Evelyn Del Rio, Jessie Ralph

Abridged Book Description

Written by W.C. Fields under the name "Mahatma Kane Jeeves," which suggests something of his ambitions, and directed by amiable traffic cop Eddie Cline, whose job was to clear the way so Fields could cut loose with all his multiple idiosyncrasies, The Bank Dick finds the star as usual cast as a mild-mannered but resentful bumbler who wants only to be left in peace, but is nagged by an unreasonable world into making the effort to respond to various impolite intruders into his happy doze... Like all the best Fields films, the premise here is just an excuse for a succession of vaudeville-like sketches in which he is pitted against a partner too eccentric to be classed as a straight man but also too vicious to be a victim. Some of the routines in The Bank Dick (a bit in which Sousè somehow finds himself in the director's chair while a movie is being shot) stray far afield from the bank, but the marbled, pompous halls of commerce and capital, with gladhanding moneybags who receive their come-uppance as Sousè somehow becomes rich and "reformed," are an ideal setting for mischief and anarchy. Fields was a rare comedian who could be funny while strangling a small child, and this 75-minute gem is among his masterpieces.