You're Telling Me!
|You're Telling Me!|
|Directed by||Erle C. Kenton|
|Produced by||Emanuel Cohen
|Written by||Walter DeLeon
Paul M. Jones
J. P. McEvoy
Julian Leonard Street
|Music by||W. Franke Harling
|Edited by||Otho Lovering|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
You're Telling Me! is a 1934 American Pre-Code comedy film released by Paramount Pictures, and starring W. C. Fields; this film is a remake of his earlier silent film So's Your Old Man (1926), and both films are adapted from the story Mr. Bisbee’s Princess by Julian Leonard Street.
Sam Bisbee (W. C. Fields) is an optometrist and an amateur inventor. His daughter Pauline (Joan Marsh) is in love with Bob Murchison (Buster Crabbe), but Bob's upper-class mother (Kathleen Howard) wants nothing to do with anyone related to uncouth Sam Bisbee. Even Sam's wife Bessie (Louise Carter) is ashamed of him, because he prefers to be himself rather than put on airs. Pauline is the one woman who truly loves Sam, accepting her father as he is.
Sam receives a letter from the National Tire Company expressing interest in one of his inventions, puncture-proof tires that can resist bullets. He goes in his car, which is fitted with four of his tires, and offers to give a demonstration by shooting at the tires; while he was in the boardroom, however, his car had been towed and a similar-looking police car is now in its place. The tires (naturally) fail to resist Sam's bullets, and the police chase after him.
During the train trip home, feeling that he's failed completely, Sam contemplates committing suicide by drinking a bottle of iodine, but decides against it at the last minute. While on the train, he meets a woman (Adrienne Ames) who has a bottle of iodine in front of her; believing (wrongly) that she was also thinking of committing suicide, Sam proceeds to "talk her out of it" by telling her about his own troubles. Unknown to Sam, the woman is Princess Lescaboura, a royal visitor to the United States; moved by Sam's story, she secretly decides to help him.
The next day, Sam's home town is surprised to hear that they will be receiving a visit from Princess Lescaboura; when the princess arrives, she says that she is there specifically to see Sam Bisbee, who had once saved her life. As a result, everyone starts treating Sam with respect, including Mrs. Murchison. Sam, who thinks the whole thing is a sham cooked up by a fake princess, quietly congratulates her on her successful ruse.
At a golf course the city is opening, Bisbee is given the honor of driving the first ball off the tee. He deals with all manner of annoyances and distractions, while repeatedly exhorting the caddy (Tammany Young), and the Princess, to "stand clear and keep your eye on the ball!"
With Fields still at the tee, the president of the National Tire Company, Robbins (George Irving), arrives at the course. The company had found Sam's car and tested the tires themselves, and they want to do business with him. Robbins initially offers him $20,000, but the princess says that she wants the patent for her own country. The princess bids Robbins up until the flustered Robbins finally raises his offer to $1,000,000 and a royalty on every tire; Sam accepts.
Now that his family is wealthy and respected, and with his daughter Pauline married to Bob, all is well with Sam, who never does realize that the Princess really was a princess. As she is about to drive away, Sam congratulates her on "putting one over" on everyone. She just smiles and says, "You're telling me!" Fields then walks off contentedly.
The sequence at the golf course is largely the routine that formed the nucleus of Fields' earlier short film, The Golf Specialist.
The triumph of Fields' character over his circumstances, and the happy ending thanks to a windfall profit, would be repeated later in 1934, in It's a Gift.
This film was given only a cursory review in William K. Everson's The Art of W. C. Fields (Bonanza Books, 1967, p. 107-110) as the film was then unavailable due to ownership issues. Those issues were eventually resolved, and the film is included in the Universal DVD set, W. C. Fields Comedy Collection, Volume Two.
As Everson points out (p. 115), the minor character called "Charlie Bogle" would be adopted as Fields' writing pseudonym for several of his films following this one.
- W. C. Fields as Sam Bisbee, Optometrist
- Adrienne Ames as Princess Lescaboura
- Joan Marsh as Pauline Bisbee
- Larry "Buster" Crabbe as Bob Murchison
- Louise Carter as Mrs. Bessie Bisbee
- Kathleen Howard as Mrs. Edward Quimby Murchison
- Del Henderson as Crystal Springs Mayor Brown
- Nora Cecil as Mrs. Price, town's spinster
- George Irving as Mr. Robbins - President of National Tire Co.
- James B. "Pop" Kenton as Doc Beebe, Sam's friend
- Robert McKenzie as Charlie Bogle, Sam's friend
- Tammany Young as the Caddy