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Million Dollar Legs + The Bank Dick

Double Bill
Wed, Aug 15, 2012
  • 6:30PM
  • 9:15PM
BAM Rose Cinemas
STUDENTS/SENIORS:  $9 (Students and under with a valid ID, Mon—Thu)
August 2012
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Wednesday August 15, 2012
Performances no longer available.

Million Dollar Legs

Directed by Edward F. Cline

With Jack Oakie, W. C. Fields, Andy Clyde, Lyda Roberti, Susan Fleming

 (1932) 64min, 35mm

One of the most bizarre comedies to ever come out of the Hollywood studio system, this W.C. Fields vehicle (based on a short story by future All About Eve director Joseph L. Mankiewicz) tells the story of a mythical, near-bankrupt country where everyone shares the same name—and whose president (Fields) is on the verge of being ousted by his cabinet. When the government decides that participating in the Olympics will help dig the nation out of debt, the resulting shenanigans are “about as close as Hollywood...ever came to the spirit of Dada” (The New Yorker). Strung together with nonsensical banter, a disorienting structure, and some truly batty performances, Million Dollar Legs (which was ostensibly released to commemorate the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics) turns out to be just an excuse for a blisteringly funny satire of a world that—in the shadow of fascism, totalitarianism, and a financial crisis—seemed to have gone insane.


The Bank Dick

Directed by Edward F. Cline

With W.C. Fields, Cora Witherspoon, Una Merkel

 (1940) 72min, 35mm

Indulging Fields’ love for the precisely timed gag, The Bank Dick endows its misanthropy with an improbable lightness. A bumbling crank who avoids his nagging family by smoking and drinking all day in a bar called the Black Pussy, Egbert Sousé stumbles upon some good fortune when he unintentionally stops a bank robbery and is rewarded with a job as a guard. Written by Fields under the alias Mahatma Kane Jeeves, and held together by an audaciously threadbare structure, this comic masterpiece clears the way for its star’s genius to run amok and, in the process, captures the absurdist delirium at the heart of all-American provinciality.