W.C. Fields Straight Up
What's it About
This first-ever docu-portrait of curmudgeonly funnyman W.C. Fields details the comedian's rise from the streets of Philadelphia to the heights of fame- first in vaudeville, then early Hollywood. Through lively interviews and loads of hilarious clips, the fullest picture yet of the inter-relationship between Fields's on-screen genius and off-screen persona comes clearly into focus.
Why we love it
Critics loved this documentary on the arch gagman with the funny twang when it first appeared on PBS in the 1980s, but except for a few TV airings on other channels, it nearly vanished into obscurity. We should be glad it didn't: Adamson's loving, scrutinous attention to everything that made Fields tick really couldn't be better displayed. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Will Fowler, Leonard Maltin, and even a grown-up Baby Leroy show up to divulge remembrances and appreciations, as well myth-busting bits of information. (Yes, he had an alcohol problem, and no, he never made that infamous comment "People who hate dogs and children can't be all that bad.") A fine tribute to the sour king of a comic era now long gone, "Straight Up" is pure pleasure.