The Old-Fashioned Way

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Old-fashioned indeed: this wonderful Fields vehicle, set at the end of the last century, includes the song 'A Little Bit of Heaven Known as Mother' and a performance of the renowned melodrama The Drunkard. For all his pose of misanthropy, Fields has a heart as wide as the Grand Canyon, and he poured into this one film all his love for the gaslight era and the vaudeville life. As the Great McGonigle, leader of a travelling theatre troupe, he fights heroically against a sea of troubles, including an interfering sheriff and a doting old ham called Cleopatra Pepperday. Beaudine's direction is on the slow side, but this at least allows the laughs to be fully savoured.

By: GB

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