The Fatal Glass of Beer (1933 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Fatal Glass of Beer
Directed byClyde Bruckman
Produced byMack Sennett
Written byW. C. Fields
StarringW. C. Fields
Mack Sennett Productions
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • March 3, 1933 (1933-03-03)
Running time
21 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Fatal Glass of Beer (1933) is an American pre-Code short film starring W. C. Fields, produced by Mack Sennett, and released theatrically by Paramount Pictures. Written by Fields and directed by Clyde Bruckman, the film is a parody of rugged stage melodramas set in the Yukon.


Ma and Pa Snavely live in a wooden hut in the Yukon. Many years before, their son Chester left for the big city and became involved in crime after "the fatal glass of beer". He returns home after getting out of prison, and promises his father not to tell his Mother what he really did. He makes the same promise to his Mother. They both chase him out of the house.

Pa Snavely, as portrayed by Fields, serenades a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer with "The Fatal Glass of Beer", a mournful song detailing the evils of foul drink and bad companions in the big city. A zither accompaniment recorded for the film seldom matches the vocal, because Fields subtly changes keys when the zither does not, resulting in a humorously off-key effect.

Fields emphasizes the stagey satire by striking various poses and being overly theatrical with the dialogue. The most famous gag has Fields opening the cabin door periodically and exclaiming, "And it ain't a fit night out for man or beast!", with some obviously fake snow thrown into his face a moment later. He would reprise that gag during the "play-within-the-play" in The Old Fashioned Way (1934).



Purporting to be in Alaska, Fields continually goes to the door, declaring "it ain't a fit night out for man or beast", only to be hit with a bucket of snow.
Heathcliff: "It ain't a fit night out for man nor beast, Kathy." Phwoosh!


  1. ^ DVD writeup
  2. ^ Middlemiss, Perry (January 2000). "THE CRYSTAL BUCKET by Clive James". Melbourne, Australia. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
  3. ^ James, Clive (1981). "Wuthering Depths". The Crystal Bucket (1st ed.). Jonathan Cape. ISBN 978-0224018906.

External links[edit]