My Little Chickadee (1940)

Passed   |    |  Comedy, Western


My Little Chickadee (1940) Poster

After a scandal runs a gold-digger out of town, she meets a con artist and becomes embroiled in a string of petty deceits.


6.9/10
2,527

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30 August 2009 | Lechuguilla
"My Little Peach Fuzz"
An Old West comedy that doesn't make a lot of sense, "My Little Chickadee" is mostly a cinematic vehicle for the talents of its two stars: Mae West and W.C. Fields.

Mae, all decked out in flowery glad rags, does her usual shtick, as she rolls her eyes, smiles mischievously, and walks in the slinky, suggestive manner that she's known for. I love it. She doesn't "act" so much as she projects her own unique on-stage persona. In this film she sings only one song: "Willie Of The Valley". It's okay, but I could have wished for a song more suitable to her wonderfully bawdy public image.

Wearing a high top hat and white gloves, and with that big nose and eccentric way of speaking, W.C. Fields plays Cuthbert J. Twillie, a blustery, flamboyant older man who uses big words to impress, and devious tricks to hoodwink. He's not seriously criminal, just a good-natured, booze-loving flimflam man trying to get along in life as best he knows how. Sometimes he succeeds, sometimes not. Fields is just as unique as Mae West. And his comedic routine is straight out of vaudeville.

The script's dialogue contains lines that highlight the humor of Fields, like when he tries to impress Flower Belle (Mae West): "The days of chivalry are not over. I've been worried about you my little peach fuzz. Have you been loitering somewhere? ... You are the epitome of erudition, the double superlative ...". His flowery metaphors sometimes get on Flower Belle's nerves, like when he says to her: "I climb the ladder of love to reach for the stars". She snaps back: "I'm in no mood for astronomy".

For all his bluster, Twillie is actually the weaker of the two characters. It's Flower Belle who uses a pistol to knock off villainous Indians, and Twillie whose use of a kid's slingshot backfires.

In this story, Margaret Hamilton, in her best witch voice, plays a histrionic busybody, in a support role.

This is a film that will appeal mostly to fans of Fields and/or West. I think the film probably showcases Fields' talents a little better than those of West. What hurt this film is the real-life villainous Production Code which tried to water down the bawdy dialogue. As a result, both the plot and some of the dialogue come across as flat. Had the self-righteous censors left the scriptwriters alone, "My Little Chickadee" could have really sizzled.

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