W.C. Fields image by twm1340 via FlickrNew York's Film Forum has come to the rescue, reinforcing the lectures. Those kindly info ferrets have uncovered several quotations from revered cinema historians on the topic of, as Fields' called himself, "The Great Man."
"The greatest comic the movies have given us." – David Thomson
"The toughest and most warmly human of all screen comedians." – James Agee
"Quite probably the funniest single individual America has ever produced." – William K. Everson
Twenty-four W.C. Fields features and his six short subjects are scheduled at the theatre during a 12-day retrospective of the comedian's motion picture glories made between 1915 and 1941. Several of the productions remain wrongly, elusively unavailable to me otherwise.
It grieves this big-eyed lad that I won't be able to visit Manhattan for the festival due to prior commitments and my fears of flying and street corner accordionists with de rigueur rabid monkeys.
I'm excited. I'm already calling my wife "Miss Plupp" and she's to address me as "Eustace McGargle." If she forgets, I'll still answer to "Mahatma Kane Jeeves," "Otis Criblecoblis," and "Larsen E. Whipsnade."
Speaking of gargle, the series kicks-off with "The Dentist" (1932), one of several Fields two-reelers he wrote and starred in for producer Max Sennett and Paramount Pictures. This 21-minute concoction was quite outrageous in its day and remains a surprising spectacle that was widely censored for some questionable imagery in the ol' dental chair.
I'm ready to start. Join me. Grab your popcorn and spit sink and swallow "The Dentist."