Is there a performer in the history of film better suited to a screening at the Schlafly Bottleworks than the legendary comic/drunk W.C. Fields? Tonight the Webster Film series screens 1934's It's a Gift, starring Fields as Harold Bissonette, a put-upon everyman who manages a New Jersey general store, but dreams of owning a California orange grove. Besieged from all sides by annoying neighbors, a henpecking wife and insufferable kids (including his arch nemesis Baby LeRoy), it's easy to understand why the exasperated Fields is never caught without a flask of his "reviver" at the ready. His general contempt for everyone, and his muttered, laconic jabs made Fields the indisputable grand poobah of today's politically incorrect comedians, but he remained a lovable misanthrope to the end, always absorbing more abuse than he could dish out. It's a Gift starts at 8 p.m. at Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Avenue, Maplewood; 314-968-7487 or www.webster.edu/filmseries) Admission is just $4, and there will be plenty of beer on tap.
Wed., Aug. 4, 2010