Back in early 2001, when we got our first DVD player, I got into old movies, specifically black and white comedies. The Marx Brothers were at the top of my list, but just below them was W.C. Fields. That summer I believe, there was a W.C. Fields marathon. I caught part of a movie where W.C. Fields played an Inventor. I accidently taped over this and a few other “good” movies that they had shown with George Cukor’s 1935 version of “David Copperfield,” which is not the kind of movie I like to watch (then or now), yes W.C. Fields was in it but it wasn’t a W.C. Fields movie, not in the slightest.
Years later a Coworker of mine, and film buff, told me that International House was the movie where W.C. Fields played an inventor. I got a W.C. Fields DVD with 10 of his movies specifically because it had International House, but it didn’t hurt that the DVD came with “The Bank Dick” and “My Little Chickadee” both of which I had seen and loved, and also “It’s a Gift” which the same coworker highly recommended.
I give this movie 4 out of 5, not quite his best but still an enjoyable film to watch. Pretty funny, especially the scenes with Fields, unfortunately there are not quite as many of them as I would have liked to have seen. Aside from Fields there is some funny dialogue between Gracie Ally and Gorge Burns, their back and forth routine is a little dated but still enjoyable.
The movie was made before the Hays Code, and had some unexpected things in it, such as an allusion to Homosexuality, rather revealing outfits for the women in one of the dance numbers, and a song about Marijuana. Fields even makes a derogatory comment about William H. Hays, who at the time was trying to get the code that would bear his name past. Since the movie takes place in China and there are some less then sensitive portraits of Asians in the movie, however it could have been much worse.
One inaccuracy that most people probably wouldn’t care too much about is the Autogyro. Fields vertically lands the aircraft in the outdoor dining area which is possible, however at the end of the movie he takes off vertically in the Autogyro which is impossible, the aircraft does require some runway to generate lift, though not as much as an airplane.