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Tillie and Gus

USA 1933
produced by
Douglas MacLean, Emanuel Cohen (executive) for Paramount
directed by Francis Martin
starring W.C. Fields, Alison Skipworth, Jacqueline Wells (= Julie Bishop), Clifford Jones (= Phillip Trent), Clarence Wilson, Baby LeRoy, George Barbier, Barton Maclane, Edgar Kennedy, Robert McKenzie, Ivan Linow
story by Rupert Hughes, screenplay by Walter DeLeon, Francis Martin, W.C. Fields

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Mary (Jacqueline Wells) and Tom (Clifford Jones) are about to lose everything including their ferry line franchise thanks to their lawyer Phineas Pratt (Clarence Wilson), who desperately tries to cheat them out of all of their money, especially Mary's parents' inheritance. Enter Tillie (Alison Skipworth) and Gus (W.C. Fields), Mary's aunt and uncle whom everyone thought to have been missionaries in China while they actually toured the country gambling and cheating. It takes one crook to know one though, and Tillie and Gus soon see through Phineas Pratt's game - and prevent Mary from selling her franchise to Pratt.

Eventually, Gus and Tillie, Mary and Tom agree to put the ferry line franchise at stake at a boat race, their old riverboat versus Pratt's all-new steamer. It seems an unfair fight to start with, but Gus and Tillie use every trick in the book to turn fate in their favour, and they also save Mary and Tom's baby (Baby LeRoy) along the way. In the end though, the race is decided in Mary and Tom's favour when Tom accidently feeds his boat's burner with 4th of July-fireworks, which not only speed up their trip but also shoot the other boat out of commission.

And in the end, Phineas Pratt is forced to admit to his foul play when trying to get his hands on Mary's parents fortune.


The first sound feature film that has comedian W.C. Fields top-billed, and also the first sound feature he had a certain creative control over - and yet it's not one of his better films, as the whole concept of the film seems to be just a bit too far-fetched, seems to be disjointed at parts, puts too little drama on its centerpiece, the boatrace, and as a whole seems to be almost too harmless for a man of Fields' offensive humour. That all said, there are still plenty of fun scenes in Tillie and Gus, but no too memorable setpieces, and as a matter of fact, Fields has been funnier in a lot of his other films.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD