GenreComedy Story byDorothy Donnelly LanguageEnglish
WriterWaldemar Young, Virginia Van Upp Release dateJune 17, 1936 Based onPoppy
by Dorothy Donnelly CastW.C. Fields (Prof. Eustace McGargle), Rochelle Hudson (Poppy), Richard Cromwell (Billy Farnsworth), Catherine Doucet (Countess Maggi Tubbs DePuizzi), Lynne Overman (Attorney Whiffen), Granville Bates (Mayor Farnsworth) Similar moviesW C Fields appears in Poppy and Sally of the Sawdust
Poppy 1936 pt3
Poppy is a 1936 comedy film starring W. C. Fields and Rochelle Hudson. The film was based on a 1923 stage revue of the same name starring Fields and Madge Kennedy. This was the second film version of the revue, following Sally of the Sawdust in 1925 with Carol Dempster in the title role and which also starred Fields.
Eustace McGargle (Fields), a con artist, snake oil salesman and exponent of the shell game, tries to escape the sheriff while taking care of his beloved adopted daughter, Poppy (Hudson), who after pretending to be an heiress to win an inheritance, turns out to really be an heiress.
W.C. Fields as Professor Eustace McGargle
Rochelle Hudson as Poppy
Richard Cromwell as Billy Farnsworth
Catherine Doucet as Countess Maggi Tubbs DePuizzi
Lynne Overman as Attorney Whiffen
Granville Bates as Mayor Farnsworth
Maude Eburne as Sarah Tucker
Bill Wolfe as Egmont
Adrian Morris as Constable Bowman
Rosalind Keith as Frances Parker
Ralph Remley as Carnival Manager
At the time of filming, Fields was suffering the effects of his heavy drinking, together with attempts to stop drinking. He injured his back during the making of the film. These factors mean that Fields was not able to give his best performance. Fields was ill during the production, and a fairly obvious double was used in several scenes requiring physical exertion. He still managed a memorable performance, including these well-known lines spoken to his daughter Poppy (Hudson):
"What a gorgeous day... what effulgent sunshine... effulgent sunshine, yes... 'twas a day of this sort, the McGillicuddy brothers murdered their mother with an axe!"
"And if we should ever separate, my little plum, I want to give you just one bit of fatherly advice: Never give a sucker an even break!"
On its release, The New York Times called it a "glorious victory" for Fields and comedy, while conceding that the scenes without Fields were "painfully frail" and would provoke some squirming and eye-rolling.
More recently, The Age of Comedy was unimpressed, finding the film uninteresting and over-serious apart from Fields' presence, and Fields not at his best.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
2005: AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes:
Prof. Eustace P. McGargle: "Never give a sucker an even break." – Nominated