Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Eloquent Fields

Cullen Gallagher on the great W.C. Fields:

When it comes to one-liners, W.C. Fields is hard to beat. Million Dollar Legs has one of my favorites: “The Constitution says I can’t hit a man under 200 lbs.” Pacing is key to Fields’ delivery, such as this prolonged line from The Bank Dick: “I’m very fond of children. Girl children. Around 18 or 20.” He’s also a master at backhanded compliments, like “She’s all dressed up like a well-kept grave” from The Old Fashioned Way, or “I voted for you in the last election…five times” from You’re Telling Me. And when it comes to wisdom, no one was as worldly (or otherworldly) as Fields, as evinced by this jest from You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man: “Getting married is like buying a new horse, or going into a strange saloon.”

[HT: Pulp Serenade]

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