Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
MY LITTLE CHICKADEE
MY LITTLE CHICKADEE (1940). Director: Edward F. Cline.
"I feel as though a midget with muddy feet has been walking over my tongue all night." -- Cuthbert J. Twillie.
When Flower Belle Lee (Mae West) is run out of town because of her midnight dalliances with a mysterious masked bandit, she runs into Cuthbert J. Twillie (W. C. Fields) on a train and "marries" him when she sees his valise full of cash. All this leads into various highly amusing complications as Flower Belle is torn between two other men [one good/Dick Foran; one bad/Joseph Calleia], and Cuthbert winds up as the sheriff in a town where sheriffs need to be frequently replaced due to violent death. Fields is as marvelous as ever; the ever-liberated West doesn't so much as act in the movie as she inhabits it, but she's a lot of fun; Calleia and Margaret Hamilton [ as a disapproving but kind of lovable old maid] give give their usual flavorful performances; and the under-rated Dick Foran is pleasant and solid. Donald Meek is also great as a gambler who pretends to be a pastor so the two stars can get married on the train. West sings "Willie of the Valley" with great aplomb if without a voice. Lots of great dialogue in this.
Verdict: An unbeatable combo. ***1/2.