7.2/10
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65 user 24 critic

It's a Gift (1934)

Passed | | Comedy | 30 November 1934 (USA)
A henpecked New Jersey grocer makes plans to move to California to grow oranges, despite the resistance of his overbearing wife.

Director:

Norman Z. McLeod (as Norman McLeod)

Writers:

Jack Cunningham (screen play), J.P. McEvoy (from "The Comic Supplement" by) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
W.C. Fields ... Harold Bissonette
Kathleen Howard ... Amelia Bissonette
Jean Rouverol ... Mildred Bissonette
Julian Madison Julian Madison ... John Durston
Tommy Bupp ... Norman Bissonette (as Tom Bupp)
Baby LeRoy ... Baby Dunk
Tammany Young ... Everett Ricks
Morgan Wallace ... James Fitchmueller
Charles Sellon ... Mr. Muckle
Josephine Whittell ... Mrs. Dunk
T. Roy Barnes ... Insurance Salesman
Diana Lewis ... Miss Dunk
Spencer Charters ... Gate Guard
Guy Usher Guy Usher ... Harry Payne Bosterly
Dell Henderson ... Mr. Abernathy (as Del Henderson)
Edit

Storyline

The owner of a general store (Harold Bisonette) is hounded by his status-anxious wife ("That's 'Bee-soh-nay'" and "I have no maid you know"). To get some sleep he goes out on the porch where he is tormented by a little boy from the floor above (Baby Dunk) and an insurance salesman down below ("LaFong. Capital L, small a..."). He uses an inheritance to buy an orange ranch through the mail, then drives off with his family for California. The orange grove consists of a withered tree, the ranch house is but a shack, and the car falls to pieces. But a racetrack operator wants the land, so all ends happily. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

California or Bust! And what they don't burn, they practically wreck...just as they will wreck you with laughter in this coast-to-coast joy-ride! See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 November 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Back Porch See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the family is picnicking on the estate, Harold looks at a sundial, then consults his watch and comments that the sundial is a little slow. Amelia sarcastically states "The sun is wrong, your watch is right." However, they both could be right as it depends on the longitude of the observer in the time zone whether a timepiece and the sun reading would be identical. See more »

Goofs

Jean Rouverol's name is misspelled as Jean Rouveral in the opening credits, but was correct in the end credits. See more »

Quotes

Amelia: The only real money you'll ever have and you throw it away before you get your hands on a penny of it! What are you lying there for?
Harold: I'm tired.
Amelia: Why don't you go to bed?
Harold: I thought I'd lie down and take a little nap first.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The confrontation between W.C. Fields and Baby LeRoy was such a popular success that for this rematch the title card includes "with Baby LeRoy" as if the infant had second billing. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Crossing Jordan: For Harry, with Love & Squalor (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away
(1897) (uncredited)
Written by Paul Dresser
Performed by Chill Wills and The Avalon Boys
See more »

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User Reviews

Superlatives Abound!
29 June 2004 | by jonnyrancherSee all my reviews

"It's a Gift" is one of Fields' best! Though W.C Fields is rarely thought of as a physical comedian, his performance is as graceful and athletic as you're likely to see. Sharp, biting dialogue and timeless comedic elements (like the universally recognized nagging wife, pesky kids, delivery people, and, [horrors] even the "visually impaired") get the Fields treatment. Like most of Fields' work "It's a Gift" centers, not on the drinking that would become his caricature (though he does "tip a few" in the film), but on the "little guy." Fields is once again in the familiar role of "down-trodden little man" just trying to make it in an increasingly crazy and, sometimes, cruel world. "It's a Gift" is wonderful theatre; brilliantly executed by one of America's comic masters.


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