It's a Gift [VHS]
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  • A masterpiece, not to be missed!!
    This film is Field's best, and that speaks volumes! When I saw this film for the first time, I roared and laughed so much I was actually sore afterwards! Hilarious throughout, and the porch scene is possibly the funniest movie scene of all time!! Carl La Fong!! A must-see, little-known masterpiece from the brilliant W.C. Fields!!...more info
  • One of the funniest films ever made.
    The previous reviewers are right, the grocery-store scene with the blind man is a scream. Total chaos and destruction ensue all for a pack of gum, which the blind man wants delivered because he "can't lug that around" with him. It's priceless. The scene where W.C. is trying to sleep on the porch should be shown in every film school in the world! The whole cast is perfect and every time you watch this movie it gets funnier. I bought 4 copies of it to give as gifts this year....more info
  • "Beautiful California Orange Ranch...ah....I've got my heart set on this thing and I'm going through with it!"
    This is my favorite comedy movie and that's saying something. I love comedy and comedians. This movie is in a category of its own. I first saw this movie with my cousin Walter Gabrielson in 1969 when it played on one of the late show channels, probably KHJ, in Los Angeles on a Saturday night. I laughed so hard I missed half the movie.

    Fields plays Harold Bissonette, henpecked husband, struggling corner grocery store owner, and disrespected father who awaits fate to lift him out of the painful banality of his life. Fate arrives with an inheritance from the passing of his Uncle Bean. It is his ticket to California where the state motto is "Eureaka! I've Found it." He takes a chance on it.

    California was the glamorous destination of the 1930's. My mother told me of listening late at night on my Grandfather's farm to the radio shows coming from Hollywood night clubs and imagining dancing with glamorous leading men. Bobby Short's "Get your Kicks on Route 66" was the anthem. John Steinbeck gave it literary respectability when he wrote "The Grapes of Wrath" about the Okies piling their jalopies with worldly goods and going to California. Harold Bissonette's eight seater looks much like those jalopies.

    Into this story line are plugged the W.C.Fields comic masterpieces that he had been honing for many years. Here they reach perfection. The Breakfast scene, the Mr. Muckle scene, the "cumquats" exchange, the "phone call to/from the maternity ward" scene, the sleeping porch scene, which reaches it climax with the "Carl LaFong" exchange. Then, there is the whole sequence of the Orange Ranch disappointment turned into success by accident. Rare is the film that is both a period piece and yet an eternal verity.

    Fields is obviously the star with top billing, but it is a mistake to think that he could do this alone. Fields had an ensemble troop that he played his comedy off and they were essential to his work. In this movie, he had Baby LeRoy, Tammany Young, Charles Sellon (Mr. Muckle), T. Roy Barnes (Insurance agent inquiring about Carl La Fong), and Morgan Wallace playing Fitzmuller who wants the cumquats.

    Last but certainly not least is Kathleen Howard who is brilliant as Amelia Bissonette. When she says, "I have no maid....probably never shall." Her disappointment in Harold is biting. When, upon seeing the ranch house in California, she proclaims "Ranch house!!! It's a SHACK!" Her voice penetrates directly into the skull and delivers a jolt to the top of the spine. She was underrated to say the least.

    Norman McLeod was a primer comedy director who worked with the Who's Who of comedy actors.

    My Advice: Get the DVD W.C. Fields Comedy Collection Vol. 1. This film along with the Bank Dick represent the best of W.C. Fields and the transfers are great. ...more info
  • Utterly hilarious
    This is one of the most hilarious movies ever made, and one of the least-known and appreciated. W.C. Field is outstanding as the California grocer, Mr. Bissonette, who has inherited an orange grove. The funniest scene is when a blind man comes into his store and breaks everything with his cane, while Bissonette stands my helplessly. You will be on the floor in stitches!

    Though made in 1934, this movie is not dated in the least and the quality of this version is quite acceptable. If you've never seen this Fields classic, don't hesitate. You'll watch it again and again and laugh until your sides ache....more info

  • "Go West , Old Man"
    "It's a Gift" may very well be W.C.Fields' most brilliant film. Certainly, it is his most consistently hilarious one, but at the same time his darkest. The paradox loving critic who once maintained that comedy was a sadder art than tragedy as it left people unchanged in their follies and vices could well have had a film like this in mind as an illustration of that doctrine. One inch below its hilarious surface, there is pretty consistent domestic misery. Stuffed full of marvelously funny sequences,"It's a Gift" details the automobile move from East Coast to West sometime during the 30's by a sorely beset grocery store owner, his nagging wife ("I've never had a servant, probably never shall!"), his selfish affianced daughter, and his pip of a bratty son. Unlike happier Fields comedies in which he has at least one good human relationship, usually that with his daughter, here to the entire family he is merely odd man out. Added to this alienation, there's the fact that the entire human and physical universe is against him, both on his trip across the States as well as before it. Thus he is thwarted in due course by an ill-placed roller skate, a selfish blind man, Baby LeRoy, an enabling mother, a molasses spill, clinking milk bottles, a bouncing coconut, a persistent insurance salesman, a noisy street peddler, grapes dropped into his open mouth during sleep, an unfoldable folding chair, a gated mansion, a statue in its park that "runs right in front of his car," and finally an orange grove that's without oranges, much less a single tree. Though the Fields character pulls off something of an economic triumph in the final sequences, it is the continuing alienation of his character that is reinforced in the final frame. As his ever selfish family sets off to some new snobbish event in fancy clothes and in an even fancier car, Fields by choice remains alone, essentially as he was before the trip to California, though he does have a new companion of sorts now, a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice which he can generously spike with his always present flask of hard liquor....more info
  • From a shack in California
    This movie has brought me hours of endless laughs. It is easily the funiest movie ever. W.C. Fields was such a genius. He is suttle in a way that does not exist today so pay close attention to the mumbling of the master. The lady who plays his wife is hilarious. So are Mr. Muckle, the annoying neighbor lady and her daughter, the insurance salesman, everyone. Moving to California? More power to ya!...more info
  • The Funniest Movie Ever Made "It's a G ift" W.C. Fields, et al.
    The Funniest Movie Ever Made "It's a G ift" W.C. Fields, et al.

    This is without the slightest doubt the funniest movie ever made. Every time I've watched it, which is about 8-10 times, I end up on the floor, barely able to breathe, and I don't drink, nor do I have any pulmonary problems. The scene with the coconut bouncing down the stairs in a perfectly timed rhythm is one of the funniest (I don't know how they did it), and one of my other favorite scenes involves the insurance peddler looking for Karl Lafong, not to mention the scene in which the man wants to buy cumquats, and Fields asks "How many quats?" There are too many funny bits in this film to mention, which means you may very well laugh yourself to death. There are lesser fates.

    Fields, who wrote the script under the pseudonym of Charles Bogle (he has a genius for comic names almost equaling Dickens), plays greengrocer Harold Bissonette (pronounced Bissonay!), long-suffering henpecked husband and father. His wife nags him, his daughter treats him like a bathroom fixture to be moved out of the way, and his son, who nearly kills his father by leaving a stray roller skate lying around has the cheek to ask "What's the matter, Pop? Don't you love me anymore?" I leave it to you to imagine the reaction of the man who once said that one should never share a stage with children or animals. In this movie, there are two children, but no animals. What this poor man heroically deals with is quite enough for anyone's endurance, so when he decides to sell his business and move to a California "orange ranch" or grove, we've long since been on his side, cheering him along. Even the cumquat man says "More power to you" as the long-suffering Harold tries to crank start his Model A.

    A masterpiece of comic timing, both in script and in acting and directing, "It's a Gift" is a gift to us all. Show it to your children, and it'll make better people of them. Perhaps not, but you can try, and by trying, you'll be enjoying the funniest movie of all time. In these trying times, the gift of laughter is the best of all, and that's the best reason to get this DVD as soon as possible. (It's part of a collection of other Fields masterpieces).
    ...more info
  • This is comedy!
    W. C. Fields was arguably the funniest man who ever lived and this movie is one of his best. Forget the so-called comedies of today with their bathroom humor and sex and take a look at this one. Just great & the whole family can watch it together!...more info
    In New Jersey, inept storekeeper Harold Bissonette is constantly nagged and badgered by his domineering wife, Amelia, his obnoxious son Norman and his lovestruck daughter Mildred. When his Uncle Bean dies, Harold uses his $5,OOO inheritance to buy an orange ranch in California through Mildred's boyfriend, John Durston, but does not tell Amelia...The unique enjoyment which is derived by those who cherish this film comes from watching Fields in a variety of classic situations: his reactions and fine timing. As Amelia, Harold's shrike of a wife, Kathleen Howard is hilariously right on the money. Trivial footnotes: Charles Bogle, who is credited as story writer, was a pseudonym of W.C. himself. The famous porch scene was filmed at Jesse Lasky's ranch and the final shot was filmed at Field's home in Encino, California. Jean Rouveral, who plays Mildred, won the part via a "Search for Beauty" contest offered by Paramount. The campfire singers were played by Chill Wills and the Avalon Boys....more info
  • It's a Gift
    W.C at his funniest. How can anyone top Carl LaFong, Mr. Muckels, the blind man or that annoying Amelia Bisonette. Belly-aching laughs in every scene...the only W.C. Fields movie that could top "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break"!...more info
  • It's A Gift
    It's a wonderful movie with strong ties to "The Pharmacist". Henpecked husband, bratty kids, totally loony customers;He's the man in the middle we all are. At least he had an orange grove to dream about!...more info
  • It'sA Gift
    Short and sweet, it's one of the best comedy movies of all time...more info
  • This May Be the Funniest American Film Ever Made
    This film is wonderful. Almost every scenrio of American family life is captured as only Fields can do. From the breakfast table to annoying salesmen and neighbors, the trials and tribulations of work, to a jealous and suspicious wife, to traveling with the family, there is not one bad scene in the film. Each scene stands on its own as a lesson in comic timing and observation. My wife and I watch this film to renew our spirits and to laugh at ourselves whenever we get a little too serious. If you like to laugh buy this video....more info
  • It's a Gift
    One of the most hilarious movie about human characte...more info
  • Terrific film in sympathy of the common man
    This comic gem features W.C. Fields at his dryest and best as Harold Bissonette, a sort of everyman who inherits a fortune and invests in what starts out as a hair-brained scheme, to the chagrin of his nagging wife (played to the hilt by Kathleen Howard) and bratty children. Fields is the master of understatement when it comes to comedy - if you love subtle humor (as I do), you'll view this film repeatedly. This film remains one of my personal favorites in that the lead character is a man who seemingly cannot please anyone (try though he may), yet prevails himself in the end. Some of the greatest sequences include: the bathroom shaving scene, where Bissonette tries to shave while his ditzy daughter primps herself; a night-time argument between Fields and his wife, ending with Bissonette spending the night on the porch and having to endure all sorts of annoyances while trying to sleep; and a road trip to Florida with the Bissonettes, which from beginning to end is a riot. Plus all the scenes between Fields and Howard are excellent - it's no wonder they did a second film together. My favorite exchange: Mrs. Bissonette (fake-crying): "I've given you the best years of my life. . . "; Mr. Bissonette (under his breath): "Yes, you have, dear . . ." I suggest this film mainly for men (the ladies I suggest it to usually don't see much humor in it) - specifically guys who are numb from absorbing the blows from both family and the workplace. Thank you, Universal, for finally re-releasing it on tape (Side note: please release another Fields classic, "The Man on the Flying Trapeze," as soon as possible to video - it is on the same order as this one, it even co-stars Kathleen Howard)....more info
  • How many times have I told you never to call me Mr. Bisonette in front of Mrs. Bisonette, It's pronounced Biso-nayh!
    Comedy at it's most universal, everyone gets something out of this movie. Superb comedy from beginning to end, this is in the Pantheon of Great Movies, and may well be the best light comedy ever filmed. Every second of this movie is funny, even the orange crates at the very end of the movie. W.C. Fields is razor sharp as the down-trodden grocer and hen-pecked family man. Kathleen Howard is hilarious as his shrill self-centered wife. I am laughing out loud at these reviews of the movie, thats how funny this movie is. Everyone should own a copy. Priceless, Timless, Unequaled Humor. ...more info
  • WC FIELDS at his best
    I first saw this film when I was 14 and was creased up with laughter as Fields try's to get to sleep, the LaFong sequence is absolutly brilliant. I bought this for my 9 yr old daughter who loves slapstick, she is now a hooked....more info
  • He doesn't get any better than this
    Possibly his best work....more info
    Absolute genius! If I were asked to select the best example of comedic genius on film, "IT'S A GIFT" would be it....more info
  • "Next, They'll Probably Give Me A Velocipede..."
    In a number of films, W. C. Fields played a variation on the theme of the hen-pecked husband, but it all came together to perfection in "It's A Gift," an hilarious comedy directed by Norman Z. McLeod. Harold Bissonette (Fields) owns a small grocery store, has an overbearing wife, Amelia (Kathleen Howard), a daughter, Mildred (Jean Rouverol), who is in love, a son, Norman (Tommy Bupp), with a penchant for leaving roller skates in the wrong places, and aspirations to a better life that includes wealth, leisure, respect and gin (not necessarily in that order). He has his eye on an orange grove in sunny, Southern California, complete with a house, that he's seen a picture of in a magazine. When "Uncle Bean" passes away, Harold parlays a modest inheritance into the purchase price, and the pursuit of the dream becomes a reality, much to the chagrin of Amelia, who thinks he's a fool. And lets him know about it in no uncertain terms. A cross country foray to the promised land with the entire family follows, and when they finally arrive in California, they find the house in disrepair and nary an orange to be seen; at least not in their grove. Harold refuses to give up, of course, and with a little luck, and some shrewd bargaining with a land developer in need of a parking lot, by the end he's living his dream. The humor in this film is vibrant and punctuated throughout by the inimitable Fields, with his trademark delivery, body language and, of course, the "proboscis," that have made him an icon of Americana. There's one uproarious scene after another, especially one in which Harold tries to take a nap on the porch while contending with noisy neighbors upstairs and down, an ice pick wielding child, and an insurance salesman (T. Roy Barnes) looking for a man named LaFong: "LaFong, Carl LaFong. Capital `L' small `a,' capital `F' small `o' small `n' small `g.' LaFong!" he says. "I don't know LaFong," Harold replies, "And if I did, I wouldn't tell you!" Another memorable scene takes place in the store, and involves the blind Mr. Muckle (Charles Sellon), who has an encounter with a display of light bulbs, and a young lad who discovers the tap on a vat of molasses; all of which produces the anticipated results. With a supporting cast that includes Julian Madison (John, Mildred's fiance), Baby LeRoy (Baby Dunk), Tammany Young (Everett Ricks), Josephine Whittell (Mrs. Dunk) and Diana Lewis (Miss Dunk), "It's A Gift" is a laugh-out-loud movie that can be watched over and over again; this is Fields at his best, in a timeless classic comedy that gets funnier every time you see it. For Field's fans, or for anyone who just wants to laugh and have a good time, this film is a definite "must see."...more info
  • If you are young at heart, the dreams can come true!
    The memorable lesson of will and encouraging self determination of a man who is living the winter of his existence, alienated and disappointed with the members of his family, have become this film a real cult movie since its immediate release.

    After the recent turmoil of the Great Depression and the countless financial failures and spiritual wounds left behind, this film emerged like a brave message about you or me can be able to do , albeit the most adverse circumstances.

    The rest of the anecdote runs for you. Watch and delight this surprising and smart film, a legitimate lesson of life, even for the actual and next generations to come.

    A wise advise:Release it in DVd and Blue Ray format, it would be pleased for many, many people.

    ...more info
  • La Fong! Capital "L" small "a" Capital "F" small "o" small "n" small "g"...........
    "Sit down Mr. Muckle, sit down honey." "WHERE ARE MY KUMQUATS???!!!"

    This perfect comedy is, for my money, the funniest film W.C. Fields ever made, and that's not faint praise. Small town grocer Harold Bissonette takes his family to California when his Uncle "Bean" dies and he inherits an orange grove. This road trip comes sometime past the halfway point of the picture. And what has taken up the first half? Just some of the funniest set pieces Fields ever devised.

    First there is his harrassed home life, put-upon by everyone from his shrewish wife to his son Norman's errant and deadly rollerskates. Then there is his harried working life with the furiously impatient customer yelling for his kumquats while Fields attempts to keep the blind Mr. Muckle from destroying every light bulb in his stock with no help from his numbskull assistant whom he doesn't hesitate to abuse. (I read that Fields put in the Mr. Muckle bit to answer a dare that he couldn't find humor in a disabled character...well he did and it is a classic). Then there is the long piece of Fields trying to sleep on the porch beset by rolling coconuts and wood staircases, loud whiny neighbors, shouting vegetable vendors, and the obnoxious annuity salesman looking for the elusive Mr. Lafong "the railroad'n man". The mounting frustration,including Baby Leroy trying to skewer him with an icepick, is a classic exercise in the slow building of comedic bits, one on another, to capture the perfect portrait of utter irritation. And finally there is the road trip where Fields shows his put-upon everyman to be just as boorish as anyone as he and his family trash an estate and carry on like rubes.

    It all ends, as Fields movies often did, with Bissonette triumphant, and finally embraced by his obsteperous family and allowed to indulge his fancy for alcohol and oranges. A great movie that wastes no time and moves from one classic bit to the other without distraction. I don't know if modern audiences can appreciate how radical Fields was in his day presenting a central character with few redeeming graces and every vice conceivable and endearing this character to a far different, far less cynical and snarky, America than the one we live in. He was a genius, and this film captures it. DVD soon please....more info
  • W.C. Fields Best Comedy!
    Hilarious Comedy routines and slapstick abound in this short but extremely funny movie. W.C. Fields brand of comedy is unique and unforgettable. He makes encounters with dogs and children masterfully hilarious. A short but sweet film. The scenes at the store with the blind man and the family picnic they hace near the end are really funny and a joy to watch. Hilarious and highly recommended. From a scale of 1-10 I give this film a 9!...more info
  • W.C. Fields at his comic best
    This is easily his best work from start to finish you'll love Fields' mean wife (you hit a statue you idiot!) so rent it and enjoy....more info
  • Vintage W. C. Fields
    W. C. Fields is at his "man against the world" best in this hilarious comedy. The plot of grocery store operator Harold Bissonette (pronounced Bisso-NAY, please), who yearns for a California orange ranch, is secondary to the frequent moments of classic comedy. For sidesplitting laughter, check out Harold's encounter with Mr. Muckle, the blind and deaf hotel detective who wreaks havoc in the grocery store. In addition, Harold trying to sleep on the porch swing is one of the greatest comedy scenes ever filmed. Aside from noisy neighbor disruptions, he suffers an assertive insurance salesman looking for Carl LaFong ("Capital 'L,' small 'a,' capital 'F,' small 'o,' small 'n,' small 'g.' LaFong!). Harold's reaction to these various annoyances keeps the viewer in stitches. Harold's shrewish wife and her scolding reaction to everything her husband says or does puts the "fun" in dysfunctional. Fields also has a couple of encounters with Baby LeRoy. Obnoxious children and their overbearing mothers are among Fields' best targets for razor-sharp comedy. Even Harold and the family dog don't get along. Harold threatens to replace the dog with an "iron" deer lawn ornament. Fields' comic style stresses physical humor, sight gags, and his trademark asides. The comic side of drinking is part of his standard routine, good taste notwithstanding. Fans of W. C. Fields, classic comedy fans, and everyone who enjoys debunking the guises of stuffy respectability needs this movie for their personal movie collection. Recommended for multiple viewing. ;-)...more info