THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

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drednm

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THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostMon Jan 01, 2018 7:38 am

Here are the lyrics to the song from my favorite talkie short.

There was once a poor boy
And he left his country home
And he came to the city to look for work

He promised his ma and pa
He would lead a civilized life
And always shun the fatal curse of drink

Once in the city
He got a situation in a quarry
And there he made the acquaintance of some college students

He little thought they were demons
For they wore the best of clothes
But the clothes do not always make the gentleman

They tempted him to drink
And they said he was a cow'rd
And at last he took the fatal glass of beer

When he'd found what he'd done
He dashed the glass upon the floor
And he staggered through the door with delirium tremens

Once upon the sidewalk
He met a Salvation Army girl
And wickedly he broke her tambourine

All she said was, "Heaven bless you"
And placed a mark upon his brow
With a kick she'd learned before she had been saved

Now, as a moral to young men
Who come down to the city
Don't go 'round breaking people's tambourines
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostTue Jan 02, 2018 1:01 pm

Ah, the film that made me a lifelong George Chandler fan.

What a career, from a Bob Curwood short in 1928 to The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again in 1979.
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostTue Jan 02, 2018 1:08 pm

And old Vitagraph actress Rosemary Theby!

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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostTue Jan 02, 2018 1:30 pm

You can catch this late tonight on TCM. It starts at 2.15am or so Eastern time.

http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article.html?isPreview=&id=1374386|88122&name=The-Fatal-Glass-of-Beer
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostTue Jan 02, 2018 1:33 pm

"And it ain't a fit night out ... for man nor beast." PLOP!! :lol:

Back in the mid-to-late 70's the character actor Burt Mustin sang "The Fatal Glass of Beer" on The Tonight Show with a barbershop quartet backing him. He was at least ninety at that point but was squarely on pitch with the other singers. Carson, McMahon, and the audience adored him, and rightly so.
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostTue Jan 02, 2018 2:51 pm

Dean Thompson wrote:"And it ain't a fit night out ... for man nor beast." PLOP!! :lol:

Back in the mid-to-late 70's the character actor Burt Mustin sang "The Fatal Glass of Beer" on The Tonight Show with a barbershop quartet backing him. He was at least ninety at that point but was squarely on pitch with the other singers. Carson, McMahon, and the audience adored him, and rightly so.



Love the line "with a kick she'd learned before she had been saved"
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostTue Jan 02, 2018 11:23 pm

I couldn't imagine any worse lyrics for a song - but, you have to admit that the Great Man knew how to put it over! :D
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostWed Jan 03, 2018 8:54 am

I first caught this on the great PBS series Matinee at the Bijou, which recreated an old-time movie program using largely (or entirely?) public domain material. But the show also had an intro that teed up what you were about to see (can't remember the host's name) with a bit of info prior to the films. Usually there'd be a cartoon, often one of those Max Fleischer colour shorts with the 3-D backgrounds, and I think the titles were sourced from Kit Parker Films.

Anyone else remember where they first saw this gem?

More on Matinee at the Bijou. Actor Scott DeVenney was the host.
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostWed Jan 03, 2018 10:00 am

Donald Binks wrote:I couldn't imagine any worse lyrics for a song -


Which was likely The Great Man's point!
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostWed Jan 03, 2018 10:12 am

wich2 wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:I couldn't imagine any worse lyrics for a song -


Which was likely The Great Man's point!


Everything about this short film is funny. Fields' song, playing the zither with mittens on, the hideously bad rear projection, the giant "nougat," Rosemary Theby's delicious deadpan, George Chandler's exit, and the line "And it's not a fit night out for man nor beast," which makes me laugh every time.
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostWed Jan 03, 2018 12:09 pm

This film is a test to see if a viewer has a slapstick gene or not. Some people don't get it. This is either a "love it" or "hate it" film. The bad back projection and the fake snow in Fields' face each time aren't "real", so they don't see the point. The point is that he is lampooning old-time melodramas, and everything is supposed to be ridiculous! My favorite gag is the giant loaf of bread that fields dips into his soup...
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostWed Jan 03, 2018 12:48 pm

silentfilm wrote:This film is a test to see if a viewer has a slapstick gene or not. Some people don't get it. This is either a "love it" or "hate it" film. The bad back projection and the fake snow in Fields' face each time aren't "real", so they don't see the point. The point is that he is lampooning old-time melodramas, and everything is supposed to be ridiculous! My favorite gag is the giant loaf of bread that fields dips into his soup...


After a puss full of "snow," Fields ad libs at one point about how it tastes like corn flakes.
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostWed Jan 03, 2018 4:48 pm

drednm wrote:Here are the lyrics to the song from my favorite talkie short...


Thanks for the lyrics. My nine-year-old daughter loves this film so I printed them off so we could follow along while watching it together. It's a funny little film and I always pick-up something new each time I watch it. The snow in the face and dunking of the bread (without taking one bite) gets me every single time. It's all ridiculous...and hilarious!
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostWed Jan 03, 2018 6:35 pm

Enough of this - time to milk the elk.
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostWed Jan 03, 2018 10:34 pm

I was baffled the first time i saw this. The second time i nearly fell out of my seat laughing. My slapstick gene is weak, but this is still one of my favorites.

Now to go watch Million Dollar Legs for the first time in 40 years.

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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostFri Jan 05, 2018 11:22 am

Back in the early 70's when I was in college, our psychology professor showed us THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER. I can no longer remember why.
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostFri Jan 05, 2018 12:41 pm

I agree that this film is a case of love or hate, but would like to point out that it's also possible to *develop* an appreciation for it (at least for some people). When I first watched FATAL GLASS as a 16-year old I didn't get it at all, yet when I gave it another try a few years later I absolutely loved it (and still do).
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostSat Jan 06, 2018 9:02 am

Saw it in college in the 70s, without any preconceptions or preparation -- thought it was the most amazing short I'd ever seen, and it still might qualify. I think it's WC's most subversive film -- deliberately irritating (the song, the snow in the face) and peopled with demented character actors (Chester, and the farm wife), done completely deadpan. Just outrageous. One of the Films of.. books includes an angry exhibitors' letter from '33 to the effect that his small town audience were so baffled by the thing that they got angry at him for screening it. It's a one-shot, I think -- there are elements of the classic Fieldsian style, but where else did he go completely off the rails for a whole film and expect the audience to get what he was up to? Where else was the comedy dependent on insane repetition? I need to see it again, just to see him looking for his favorite elk -- now what was her name?
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostSat Jan 06, 2018 1:17 pm

Dave Pitts wrote:Saw it in college in the 70s, without any preconceptions or preparation -- thought it was the most amazing short I'd ever seen, and it still might qualify. I think it's WC's most subversive film -- deliberately irritating (the song, the snow in the face) and peopled with demented character actors (Chester, and the farm wife), done completely deadpan. Just outrageous. One of the Films of.. books includes an angry exhibitors' letter from '33 to the effect that his small town audience were so baffled by the thing that they got angry at him for screening it. It's a one-shot, I think -- there are elements of the classic Fieldsian style, but where else did he go completely off the rails for a whole film and expect the audience to get what he was up to? Where else was the comedy dependent on insane repetition? I need to see it again, just to see him looking for his favorite elk -- now what was her name?


Lena.

And yes, it's like no other Fields film. His other short films are straightforward narratives. This one adds to the lampoon of old melodramas by adding the elk scene with the surreal rear projection that seems to go off the tracks. In many ways it's the purest Fieldsian world.
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostMon Jan 08, 2018 1:06 pm

I think this is the melody, or darn near it, that Fields hums in several of his films. I've always thought the melody was reminiscent of another song (one Fields used to title a film of his) Man on the Flying Trapeze. Anybody hear a resemblance?
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostMon Jan 08, 2018 7:49 pm

Did TCM show the restored version of this?
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostMon Jan 08, 2018 9:39 pm

I think this is the melody, or darn near it, that Fields hums in several of his films. I've always thought the melody was reminiscent of another song (one Fields used to title a film of his) Man on the Flying Trapeze. Anybody hear a resemblance?


Definitely. In fact after watching it the other day I found myself with Flying Trapeze as an ear worm an hour or two later.
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostMon Jan 08, 2018 10:02 pm

Of course, being Fields scholars, we are all aware of the film's origins in a 1928 vaudeville sketch called "Stolen Bonds".
This film is on my top ten list of comedies that will accompany me to that hypothetical desert island. Fields is King!
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostTue Jan 09, 2018 6:41 am

The Great Man was interested in music - as long as it was featured at a bar. He said that it always sounded better if one was drinking whilst listening, however I digress. I am trying to remember which other film of his featured the Great Man in full throttle of the vocal chords - I think the song he had decided to enrich us with is "On the Banks of the Wabash". No doubt some music aficionado who has the Great Man on a pedestal due to his contribution to the vocal arts will be able to provide the details?
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostTue Jan 09, 2018 7:02 am

Donald Binks wrote:The Great Man was interested in music - as long as it was featured at a bar. He said that it always sounded better if one was drinking whilst listening, however I digress. I am trying to remember which other film of his featured the Great Man in full throttle of the vocal chords - I think the song he had decided to enrich us with is "On the Banks of the Wabash". No doubt some music aficionado who has the Great Man on a pedestal due to his contribution to the vocal arts will be able to provide the details?


====

MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE [1935] is the film you're thinking of. He sings and yodels in SIX OF A KIND [1934], and in NEVER GIVE A SUCKER AN EVEN BREAK [1941] we hear a little ditty informing us that "chickens have pretty legs in Kansas". (I don't claim that this list is complete.)
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostTue Jan 09, 2018 10:09 am

I always find it astounding to think that Fields starred in (and co-wrote) no less than FOUR splendid comedy features in a row* during 1934-35; YOU'RE TELLING ME!, THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY, IT'S A GIFT and MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE all qualify as some of the funniest comedies of the era (the latter two may very well be among the funniest of ANY era).

*Well, almost in a row, I think MRS. WIGGS OF THE CABBAGE PATCH got made somewhere in there as well, but largely forgettable though that film may be on the whole, I remember Fields' scenes in it as quite enjoyable, from the one time I watched it.
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Re: THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)

PostTue Jan 09, 2018 11:00 am

Personally, I do not hear "The Man on the Flying Trapeze." in Fields' beer lament.
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