It’s A Gift is a really funny W. C. Fields comedy from 1934, and it surprisingly holds up well when viewed with 21st century eyes. It’s A Gift is less well-known than some of Fields’ other films such as The Bank Dick, but there are still a few laughs to be had while watching the film.
In the film Fields plays Harold Bissonette (pronounced Bisonay), a grocery store owner with a nagging wife and two rotten children. After the death of his uncle he decides to sell up his store and more to California to become an orange grower. The plot however is little more than a vehicle for Fields’ gags, many of which he had honed to perfection after years spent on the vaudeville circuit.
I think that the reason why I find the film so humourous is that I can empathise with Fields in some of the situations he finds himself in. Most married men know what it’s like to be nagged by their wife at times, and would find Fields portrayal as a henpecked husband quite amusing. Similarly most of us adults know just how annoying children can be and rather than show them as sweet little angels they are seen here as being the bratty little monsters that some children really are. This is why the gags are so successful for Fields and his henpecked husband character is much funnier to me than the obnoxious, drunken wise ass that he would play in later films. As well as a few good slapstick moments there are some really great one-liners from Fields that had me laughing quite a bit.