W. C. Fields Movie Quotes

It’s a little hard to quote characters played by W. C. Fields without at least giving the preceding line or two, so we’re not even going to try. Here are a few of his best films:

International House (1933) is a slapstick comedy that mixes in popular stage and radio acts. In addition to W. C. Fields, it features Rudy Vallee, Cab Calloway, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Bela Lugosi and Peggy Hopkins Joyce. Fields plays Professor Quail who winds up in Wu Hu, China when his autogyro goes astray. There people from all over the world are converging on a hotel because a Chinese inventor (Edmund Breese as “Dr. Wong”) is looking for a commercial buyer to develop his “radioscope”, an early version of television.

Professor Quail: Hey! Where am I?
Woman: Wu-Hu.
Professor Quail: Woo-Hoo to you sweetheart.

Hotel Manager: I’m the manager of this hotel.
Professor Quail: I wouldn’t brag about it if I were you.

It’s A Gift (1934) casts W.C. as a hen-pecked grocery store owner who inherits some money and heads to California to start an orange grove, only to find that the land he purchased is worthless — at first.

Harry Payne Bosterly: You’re drunk!
Harold: And you’re crazy. But I’ll be sober tomorrow and you’ll be crazy for the rest of your life.

In Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935), W.C. Fields is again a henpecked husband who works as a “memory expert”. He gets in one problem after another for much of the film. W.C.’s mistress, Carlotta Monti, plays his secretary.

Ambrose’s Secretary: It must be hard to lose your mother-in-law.
Ambrose Wolfinger: Yes it is, very hard. It’s almost impossible.

You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man (1939) features Fields as the owner of a circus that is going broke. Ventriloquist, Edgar Bergen is in the film with his dummy, Charlie McCarthy. Charlie spars with W.C. Fields’ character, Larsen E. Whipsnade and here is one of Whipsnade’s retorts:

Whipsnade: You must come down with me — after the show — to the lumberyard… and ride piggyback on the buzzsaw.

All of these films, except “International House”, show up in Jeopardy! clues from time to time, as well as “Never Give a Sucker an Even Break” (1940), “The Bank Dick” (1940) and “David Cooperfield” (1935). Other clues cover W.C. Fields quotes that he said himself, not as one of his characters. Watching his movies is a lot more fun than reading his quotes.

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