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Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935)

Passed | | Comedy | 3 August 1935 (USA)
Hard-working, henpecked Ambrose Wolfinger takes off from work to go to a wrestling match with catastrophic consequences.

Directors:

Clyde Bruckman, W.C. Fields (uncredited)

Writers:

Ray Harris (screen play), Sam Hardy (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Stars: Jack Oakie, W.C. Fields, Andy Clyde
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
W.C. Fields ... Ambrose Wolfinger
Mary Brian ... Hope Wolfinger
Kathleen Howard ... Leona Wolfinger
Grady Sutton ... Claude Neselrode
Vera Lewis ... Mrs. Neselrode
Lucien Littlefield ... Mr. Peabody
Oscar Apfel ... President Malloy
Lew Kelly Lew Kelly ... Adolph Berg
Tammany Young ... 'Willie' the Weasel
Walter Brennan ... 'Legs' Garnett
Edward Gargan ... Patrolman No.1
James Burke ... Patrolman No.2
Carlotta Monti ... Ambrose's Secretary
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Storyline

Ambrose Wolfinger wants the afternoon off (his first in twenty-five years) to go to a wrestling match. He tells his boss that he must attend his mother-in-law's funeral. The afternoon is no joy. He tries to please a policeman, assist a chauffeur, chase a tire, and ends up getting hit by the body of a wrestler thrown from the ring. A series of mishaps leads his boss to send floral tributes to the house and notify the papers of the death (due to poisoned liquor). His shrewish wife, judgmental mother-in-law, and good-for-nothing brother-in-law add to his burdens. In the end he enjoys their fawning loyalty, a raise in pay, and his first vacation. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 August 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Flying Trapeze See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mr Wolfinger's secretary is played by Carlotta Monti, who in real life was the mistress of W.C. Fields. See more »

Goofs

Mother-in-law Cordelia says "Well he's a fiend, a wool in sheep's clothing" ... Leona Wolfinger immediately catching the error says "What?" and immediately Cordelia corrects herself "A wolf in sheep's clothing ..." and the scene continues as if no error occurs; a great recovery. See more »

Quotes

Ambrose Wolfinger: Sweetheart, I take an oath on your poor mother's grave. I never saw the wrestling matches this afternoon. Things happened!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Great Canadian Supercut (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away
(1897) (uncredited)
Music and lyrics by Paul Dresser
Sung a cappella by W.C. Fields, Walter Brennan, Tammany Young and Lew Kelly
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Another W.C. Fields Classic Comedy
8 September 2001 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

Ambrose Wolfinger, memory expert & severely henpecked husband, sometimes feels like he's going to lose his grasp on life and fall into very deep trouble - kind of like that old MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE.

W.C. Fields was at a lofty point in his career when he appeared in this hilarious little comedy. The second highest paid star at Paramount - only Mae West received more - he had just returned from MGM where he was featured as Wilkins Micawber in the all-star version of DAVID COPPERFIELD. Ill health would soon begin to stalk him again as a result of his dipsomania, but here he was wonderfully whimsical, whether dealing with spiteful in-laws, bullying traffic cops or bungling burglars in the cellar. With a handful of performances like this, Fields was to take permanent possession of a unique place in American film history.

Playing the two she-dragons Fields must face & fight are Kathleen Howard as his wife, and elderly Vera Lewis as her mother. Both excellent actresses, their scenes are waspish & wickedly funny and it is easy to see how together they could drive a normal male to distraction. It is unfortunate that these two skilled ladies are now nearly forgotten.

Grady Sutton is well cast as Fields' indolent, pouting brother-in-law; his comeuppance is richly deserved. That's Walter Brennan & Tammany Young as the crooning crooks who find themselves far from the banks of the Wabash.

It is interesting to note that the two women in the film who vigorously defend Fields also had close relationships with him outside the Studio. Mary Brian, as his daughter, was a longtime friend & neighbor of Fields. They had appeared together in the silent version of the story - RUNNING WILD - and Fields insisted on her inclusion in the talkie remake. Carlotta Monti, as Fields' faithful secretary, was also his longtime mistress. A part of his life for many years, she was at his side when he died on Christmas Day, 1946.


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