(Review originally written at 15 October 2008)

Slapstick movies were most popular in the '20's and '30's, after that the genre more started to change and the humor became more different and perhaps less physical. The story became more and more relevant but none of this applies really to "The Bank Dick".

"The Bank Dick" is a completely old fashioned comedy, done in the same style as for instance a Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy movie. The movie features lots of great slapstick moments and a main character that is totally carrying the movie to some great heights. "The Bank Dick" features some truly hilarious moments, making this a real great and effective genre movie to watch.

W.C. Fields was a great genre actor, who isn't that well known any more now days, which probably also has to do with the fact that he hasn't starred in that many movies throughout his career, especially not when comparing him to many other genre leads from the same time period. "The Bank Dick" was one of his last movies, which most likely also had to do with the fact that the '40's were coming and the genre- and the movie world in general began changing rapidly. What I like about him is that he's really acting. For instance a Charlie Chaplin or a Buster Keaton is always more relying on the movie its psychical aspects. W.C. Fields paid way more attention to the delivery of lines and how he should act, move and look in a scene. You can tell that everything got planned out but it still feels all very natural when you see Fields acting out the movie its comical and especially slapstick-style moments.

I love that this movie is deliberately old fashioned. It hasn't got a story you have to think about too much and the movie overall has a childish naivety over it, mostly due to the way W.C. Fields is portraying his character. It provides the movie with plenty of delicious comical situations.

What also makes this movie fun are its other characters. The movie just isn't an one man show from W.C. Fields but the movie also really gives all of the other characters within the movie plenty of opportunity to shine and give them some comical moments to handle as well. The movie is filled with some amusing characters, which also helps to keep the movie going at all times. This isn't just a 'one-joke' movie that relies purely on one comical situation or absurd premise but it's a movie that is always going from the one place to the other, introducing the one character after the other.

Perhaps this movie is one of the great last true slapstick movies from a bygone era.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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