Starting the day with some classic comedy, can’t get much better than that. The only sad part to this is that this is the last movie in this collection so it will be a while before I get around to watching any more W.C. Fields movies. This has definitely been a great collection as I have heard of many of these movies but never had a chance to watch any of them. That holds true with today’s movie, You’re Telling Me, and I am eager to see what is in store for me with this one.
The plot: Sam Bisbee comes home late one night and attempts to sneak in but his wife Bessie is waiting up for him and starts chastising him for missing the dinner party she had planned. As she argues with him about what an embarrassment he is to the family, she comments about their daughter Pauline kissing Bob Murchison but Sam says he isn’t worried about Pauline. When Pauline enters the house, Bessie starts chastising her daughter about kissing Bob but Pauline says she is kissing him because he asked her to marry him, causing Bessie to change her tone somewhat. Sam is happy for his daughter and starts to offer some advise but then thinks better of it and heads off to bed. The next day, Sam is in his private lab at his optometrist store talking with two friends about his puncture proof tire, demonstrating the finished product by shooting at it with a gun. When the mail arrives, he receives a certified letter from the National Tire Company expressing interest in the tire. Meanwhile, Bob has told his mother about his intent to marry Pauline and she goes to see Bessie, where she tries to convince Bessie to help her break up the wedding as she feels her son’s social level is too good to be associated with them. Bessie shows her her family album and Mrs. Burchison seems surprised to see that Bessie is actually more sophisticated than she first thought and while she still feels that Bob is to young to get married, she appears more accepting of the idea. When Sam returns home with his tire, he starts telling Mrs. Burchison about his side of the family but Mrs. Burchison is shocked at his uncouth manner and says she is going to call the whole wedding off. As she goes to leave, Pauline and Bob enter the house to see how things are going and hear her tell Sam and Bessie that she would sooner disinherit her son than let him marry into this family. Pauline sticks up for her father and tells Bob to take his mother and leave and after they leave, Sam tries to share his good news with his family but they are both disappointed in what happened and walk away. Sam has 4 of his tires made and puts them on his car, which he drives to the National Tire Company but while he is upstairs talking with the board, his car is pushed out of the way, as he parked illegally and a police car parks where he was. When Sam returns downstairs to show the board his tires, he begins shooting the tires, which deflate. The board members all laugh and call him a quack inventor as the police show up and Sam is forced to run away. Back in their home town of Crystal Springs, Bob goes to see Pauline as she is heading to church and they both admit they still love each other but Pauline says that even though she knows Bob doesn’t have a problem with her father, she doesn’t know how she can marry into a family that thinks he is nothing but an embarrassment. Meanwhile, Sam is taking a train back home and as it is travelling, he is considering drinking a bottle of iodine in order to commit suicide but as he is interrupted by a gentleman attempting to shave in their sleeping carriage, he sees them passing by a cemetery and thinks better of it. Making his way to another car to clean up, he accidentally finds himself in the cabin with Princess Lescaboura. Seeing a bottle of iodine on the table that was being used for her manicure, he mistakenly tells her not to commit suicide. Marie starts to correct him but asks why she shouldn’t and he tells her about how he was considering doing it himself, showing her the note he wrote to Pauline. He proceeds to tell her about his recent bad luck and what it will do to everyone, not realizing that as he is talking to her, the train has stopped at Crystal Springs and two town gossips, who were on the train and saw him, get off and watch as he continues talking with the Princess. As Sam finishes his tale, she introduces herself as Marie thanks him for saving her life and tells him to keep hope as he never knows when good fortunes might come to him. Sam leaves her cabin but is upset to learn that he had passed his stop and sits down to wait till they reach the next station so he can catch a ride back. Meanwhile, Marie’s attendants return and as she asks what is on her schedule, she makes some plans of her own. In Crystal Springs, the two gossips begins telling everyone what they believe Sam was doing, causing rumors to start flying like mad. When Sam makes it back to town, having been forced to walk the 40 miles, he finds the women all shunning him while the men all laugh at him. As he shares a drink with his two friends in his lab, they ask him about the girls form the train and Sam realizes that is what the fuss is over. The town newspaper announces that the Princess is coming to visit their town and Mrs. Murchison gathers all of the town’s upper class to welcome her to town. As the Princess scans the crowd, she comments about not seeing her friend Sam Bisbee there and when Mrs. Murchison asks why she wants to see him, the Princess tells the crowd he saved her life. The Princess asks to be driven to his house and a shocked Mrs. Murchison agrees to take her there. Meanwhile, Sam is leaving his store and decides to buy a pet as a peace offering for his wife and ends up buying an ostrich. As he attempts to bring the animal back to his house, the motorcade spots him and Mrs. Murchison has them stop so they can get Sam. Sam, somewhat bleary-eyed at first doesn’t recognize the Princess at first but when his vision clears, he happily greets Marie but refuses to ride with Mrs. Murchison and she agrees to ride in a different car. As they are riding, Sam doesn’t realize that Marie is actually a princess, thinking she is simply pulling off a fantastic ruse. When they arrive at Sam’s home, Pauline and Bessie go outside to see what the commotion is and are shocked as Mrs. Murchison greets them like they are old friends and then introduces them to the Princess. As she greets them, the Princess tells them they must be proud of Sam, telling them that he saved her life during the war which causes Bessie to faint. When she comes too, the Princess brings Sam out of the car and the group all head inside where the Princes forces Mrs/ Murchison to change her dinner plans when she says she will be eating with the Bisbees. As the dinner party commences, Mrs. Murchison announces the engagement of Bob and Pauline and everyone cheers the happy couple. The next day, the Mayor, at the Princess’s request, has Sam open up the new golf course by hitting the first ball but a variety of distractions occur that keep him from doing so. Suddenly, the president of the National Tire Company arrives and tells Sam that they found his car with the tires and after testing them, want to purchase them for $20,000. The Princess says that she wants to purchase the tires for her country, doubling the offer, and the two continue raising the price until the president of National Tire Company offers $1 million plus the royalties for every tire sold. Sam agrees to the deal and his family and the town applaud his new success. Later, as Pauline and Bob drive off to their honeymoon and the Princess goes to leave town, Sam says goodbye to her and comments on pulling their ruse off and she says “You’re telling me.” before saying her goodbye and leaving.
This was a great movie to watch and, in my opinion, one of Fields’s best. The acting was great, with W.C. Field putting in a great performance and throwing in his usual wit, as well as slap-stick humor, to perfect comedic timing while also showing a more serious side to make it feel more human and real. Adrienne Ames (Lescaboura/Marie), Joan Marsh (Pauline) and Buster Crabbe (Bob) all put in some great performances, while Kathleen Howard (Mrs. Murchison) and Louise Carter (Bessie) were equally good. One thing that did confuse me during the movie is that Sam always referred to his wife as Abigail, but the credits all listed her as Bessie. The only thing I can think of is it was a nickname for her. The story was great, with a lot of humor but the scene in the train honestly had such a real feel to it that it made Sam, for all his bumbling, seem even more human and made his disappointment in letting his family down even more profound. The comedy was exactly what you would expect from a W.C. Fields movie, a great mix of slapstick and witty dialogue but I will say that the golf course scene did seem to drag out way too long. A great movie and one that is well worth watching if you have the opportunity.
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5