Thursday, January 29, 2015

Movie Quote of the Day (W.C. Fields, With Love for a Mother-in-Law)

[Harold Bissonette—played by W.C. Fields--has ripped a pillow playing with the dog.]

Amelia (his wife, played by Kathleen Howard): “Those were my mother's feathers!”

Harold: “Never knew your mother had feathers…”— It's a Gift (1934), screenplay by Jack Cunningham with contributions by eight others, based upon a story by “Charles Bogle” (i.e., Fields himself), directed by Norman Z. McLeod

W.C.Fields was born William Claude Dukenfield in Darby, Penn., on this date in 1880. It’s a Gift is typical of the film persona of this great comedian: A snarling, aggressive misanthrope, fond of alcohol, but annoyed by dogs and children and cowed by his wife.   

It’s also representative of how he created material: with his own very large input into the screenplay. (The only role he didn’t touch, largely because of his huge respect for the author, was Mr. Micawber, in the adaptation of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield.) The pseudonyms he employed (starting with "Charles Bogle") only became more preposterously hilarious (e.g., Mahatma Kane Jeeves, Otis Criblecablis) as time went on.

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