The Bank Dick

1940, Movie, NR, 69 mins

Review

BANK DICK, THE | BANK DETECTIVE, THE
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Along with IT'S A GIFT, one of the definitive W.C. Fields films. THE BANK DICK is, as with all the best of Fields, appropriately thin on plot and heavy with hilarious set-pieces which allow "The Great Man" his full comic scope. The cynical, eccentric, bottle-hitting comedian plays an unemployed, henpecked (as usual) family man none-too-eagerly seeking work who accidentally captures a bank robber and is rewarded with a job as guard inside the bank. When not busy bothering customers (as when he apprehends a patron's son brandishing a toy gun), he runs between his deliciously horrid family and The Black Pussy Cat Cafe, where the proprietor (a Three Stooges-less Howard) spends most of his time pouring the guard, his only customer, a series of stiff ones.

The movie is filled with a marvelous series of Fields-patented comic bits, including an especially zany car chase, reminiscent of the best Mack Sennett, where "hostage" Fields once again inadvertantly saves the day. Fields, who wrote the script under the typically improbable pseudonym of Mahatma Kane Jeeves, plays a character named Souse, which he pronounces, in the French manner, as "Sou-say"; the rest of the cast, as might be expected, merely follows the word's English pronunciation. With wonderful supporting work from Witherspoon, Ralph, Pangborn, Sutton, Jack Norton, Pierre Watkin, and many others. leave a comment

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The Bank Dick (The Criterion Collection)
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