Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Review of "Drat! Being the Encapsulated View of Life by W. C. Fields in His Own Words," edited by Richard J. Anobile

Review of
Drat! Being the Encapsulated View of Life by W. C. Fields in His Own Words, edited by Richard J. Anobile

Four out of five stars
 While there was no question that Fields was at times a heavy drinker, it is also the case that he was an extremely talented entertainer. Known as a hater of children and dogs, he fathered children and had reasonably good relations with them when you factor in that he was always on the road as an entertainer.
 What is not commonly known is that Fields wrote or improvised a large amount of his own material, including many of the classic movie lines attributed to him. He had very little formal schooling, yet became an avid reader, traveling with a trunk full of books and had an extensive library in later life. One of his female co-stars described him as kind and gentle in personal interactions. When the two-year-old son of his neighbor drowned in a lily pond on his property Fields was so stricken with grief that he had the pond filled in.
 This book contains images from his films with associated snippets of text. His claimed hatred of children and dogs is repeated many times. They only exhibit his public persona as an entertainer and nothing of his private side, where he was a very literate man that treated others well. In an industry where the star generally rules, Fields was irascible on screen, yet generally considerate to his fellow players. In this book, only the irascible is seen.

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