The pairing of Mae West and
W.C. Fields could
have produced some high-octane comedy; instead, the result was MY
LITTLE CHICKADEE. With a screenplay credited to both stars,
written largely by West, it played not so much like a typical Mae West
film as it did a hackneyed Mae West film, and a Production-Code
cleaned-up one to boot. Meanwhile, W.C. Fields made his own
little film off to the side and emerged on top. The film
when Fields is on the screen and it doesn't when he isn't, simple as
that. Even so, it's not prime Fields, Chicago Molly monologue
aside. If you want to know what these two legends were all
don't start here. ½ - JL
The fatal flaw of MY LITTLE CHICKADEE is Mae West's character, Flowerbell Lee. In early drafts of the the story, written by Fields, the West and Fields characters were friends who married for convenience and went about their adventures, a scenario in which we could have been allowed to like them both. But in the film, Fields genuinely proposes marriage out of loneliness (and lust) and West agrees. She then spends the rest of the film treating Fields like crap. And we Fields' fans are supposed to like her for that? Luckily, Fields walks away with the picture with several classic lines and a few scenes that make the entire ordeal worthwhile. Among the highlights are some card games and a rambling, hilarious story about a bar, Chicago Molly and a hot lunch, the moral of which seems to be never kick a woman in the midriff. ½ - JB
ADD ANOTHER QUOTE AND MAKE IT A GALLON
"Is he a full-blooded Indian?"
"Quite the antithesis - he's very anemic."