Monday, April 05, 2021

The Stubborn Grace of the Lecher

What a great sense of timing W.C. Fields had. I watched his first talkie last night, 1930's The Golf Specialist. The key is his commitment to his character's, J. Effingham Bellweather's, commitment to being smooth. As he tries to impress the young lady, he speedily smooths over one trivial embarrassment after another, most having to do with a dim witted caddy (Allen Wood).

Whether it's the bizarre selection of clubs, his boater hat that continually falls off when he bends over, or a pie the caddy has inexplicably brought along, Fields never slows down for any mishap, his character realising the importance of maintaining a gentle grace of movement to establish himself as attractive to the young lady. I like how a prologue in the hotel establishes her as someone up for coupling with "anyone in pants" so the fact that she sticks around through all of the silliness doesn't owe nearly as much to Bellweather's prowess as he likely supposes.

The Golf Specialist is public domain and widely available.

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