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Larson E. Whipsnade (W.C. Fields) runs a circus - and in this capacity
he's running away from the law most of the time, his circus always in tow,
because there is hardly a town he hits he won't leave again with yet more
Presently he returns to the town he has left his daughter Vicky
(Constance Moore) in to go to college. She would rather travelled with
him, but he figured a good education would be the better alternative.
Vicky visits him at the circus and promptly falls in love with the Great
Edgar (Edgar Bergen), who performs a ventriloquist act with his dummy
Charlie McCarthy, a duo Whipsnade is actually less than fond of - but that
feeling is mutual.
Vicky is so infatuated with Edgar that she plans to
travel with the circus no matter what - but then she learns about her
father's debts, and just to help out she agrees into marrying Roger
Bel-Goodie, a dull and arrogant millionaire's son, just for her father's
sake. Whipsnade is totally in favour of her marrying into money, so he
gets rid of Edgar and Charlie by marooning them in a floating balloon.
her way to the wedding, Vicky is held up by Edgar parachuting right into
her car to save himself from the balloon, and then the two get arrested
for a couple of hours. Meanwhile, Whipsnade has arrived at the Bel-Goodies
and made a mess out of the whole situation when his carnival
barker-manners don't go too well with Roger's snooty parents (Thurston
Hall, Mary Forbes), and when Vicky finally arrives, the Bel-Goodies are
already in the process of throwing Whipsnade out. Disappointed by Roger,
the man she never loved in the first place, Vicky calls the whole thing
off to rather be thrown out with her dad than becoming as horrible as the
family she was going to marry into. And in the end, she finds happiness
with Edgar, too.
Ok, the plot of this film is pretty much as
clichéed as can be, but that's pretty much besides the point because more
than anything else, the film is W.C. Fields' loving hommage to his own
past with travelling circusses and a steady succession of pretty good gags
- and for a change, Fields, not exactly a teamplayer when it comes to
comedy, harmonizes very well with his comic co-star, ventriloquist Edgar
Bergen - maybe because the two men had had a chance of getting used to
each other for the last few years when Fields became a semi-regular on
Bergen's (and Charlie McCarthy's) radio show after his illness and the
termination of his contract with Paramount.
all, this is certainly not Fields' best film, as it lacks the hint of
ingenuity that made his masterpieces so hilarious, but it's pretty amusing