Sunday, April 14, 2013

International House (1933)

Director: A. Edward Sutherland

Starring: Peggy Hopkins Joyce, W.C. Fields, Franklin Pangborn, Stuart Erwin, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Bela Lugosi, Rudy Vallee, Sari Maritza, F. Chase Taylor, Budd Hulick, Cab Calloway, Rose Marie, Sterling Holloway

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Grand Hotel of comedy

Plot: A Chinese scientist invents TV, and agents from all countries gather in the remote Chinese city of Wu-Hu to buy the rights. American Tommy Nash is in trouble with fiancée Carol because his illnesses keep postponing their wedding; playgirl Peggy evades jealous ex-husband Petronovich and pursues rich American Professor Quail. Much of the movie is comedy and musical acts from old-time radio, made visible by the 'radioscope.'

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

This is part of one of the two big W.C. Fields box sets and the first picture I've watched out of it.  Expecting a W.C.F. picture I was surprised at how long it is before he takes the main stage (halfway into the picture).  In the meantime it's Burns & Allen and Pangborn that are features and they are friggin' hilarious.  I've loved Burns & Allen since I was a little kid and it's always a treat to see them in action and there's a lot of them to see here.  It's practically their picture, not Fields's.  Cab Calloway singing Reefer Man?  Hell, yeah!!!  Fields, as always, is bitingly funny.  Some of the things he says I'm surprised he got away with.  I would love to see some blue stuff that was excised from his movies.  I'm sure he came up with some doosies.  I guess you could consider this a musical although the tunes are akin to nightclub performances.  They are a lot of fun and there's a bunch of laughs from start to finish and what a finish!  W.C. Fields driving a car through the hotel is a gas.

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