Step Right Up and See the Great McGonigle: W. C. Fields in The Old-Fashioned Way – 35mm Screening, Aug. 8

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

Tuesday, August 8 @ 7:30 PM
Directed by William Beaudine • 1934
Swept into the town of Bellefontaine amidst a wave of debt notices and middling press, The Great McGonigle (W. C. Fields) and his theatrical troupe brave hostile authorities and the affections of wealthy patron and aspiring singer Cleopatra Pepperday (Jan Duggan) as they prepare for an imminent sold-out show. One of William Claude Dukenfield’s most indelible creations, The Great McGonigle is the type of charming, work-averse huckster Fields was born to play, a snake oil salesman with the soul of an artist. Taking up the back half of the film, the group’s production of The Drunkard; or, The Fallen Saved (an actual temperance play that was a staple of a good many 19th-century repertory theater companies like the one in The Old Fashioned Way) is a straight-faced send-up of the original play’s creaky and prudish morality that utilizes much of its actual text, predicting Alain Resnais’s late-career theatrical adaptations and demonstrating that there are limits to the nostalgia that an old standard can stir. It also climaxes with a tremendous demonstration of the Great Man’s juggling abilities, impressive by any means but especially coming from one so swollen with drink. Godfrey Daniel! (CW)
71 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Universal
Film Stock: Kodak (2005) Lab: Triage
Preceded byFox Movietone News (1934) – 35mm – 8 min

For the full schedule of our classic film screenings, please click here.

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