POPPY
1936, Universal, 73 min, Dir: A. Edward Sutherland

Snake-oil salesman Eustace McGargle (the riotous W.C. Fields) is a con artist who must always stay two steps ahead of the local sheriff, which is particularly difficult given Eustace's undying devotion to his daughter, Poppy (Rochelle Hudson).


THE BANK DICK
1940, Universal, 72 min, Dir: Eddie Cline

W.C. Fields’ most enduringly popular feature casts him as Egbert Sousé, a layabout who inadvertently catches a bank robber and is "rewarded" with a job as the bank’s security guard. A matchless cast, including Una Merkel, Jessie Ralph, Grady Sutton, Franklin Pangborn, Jack Norton and the one and only Shemp Howard, helps make this an authentic American classic. Written by "Mahatma Kane Jeeves" (as in, "My hat, my cane, Jeeves").


BAD SANTA
2003, Park Circus/Miramax, 98 min, Dir: Terry Zwigoff

Terry Zwigoff’s hysterically bold, underground variation of MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET, with Billy Bob Thornton as a foul-mouthed, alcoholic con man posing as a mall Santa, who teams up with his friend Marcus (Tony Cox) to rob the store just before Christmas. Thornton is reminiscent of W.C. Fields (only drunker, and worse to children!) in this rare intelligent adult comedy. Featuring Brett Kelly as “The Kid,” and the late, great John Ritter and Bernie Mac.


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