Fields and Chaplin
Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, a W. C. Fields nightcap, is long, loaded, and likely to leave its imbiber dizzy. In swift succession, Fields falls out of an airplane and into a romance, he rushes an innocent woman to a maternity hospital, and he intimidates every child who comes under his bloodshot eye. The excuse for it all is a bone of a plot which casts him as that improbable character, W. C. Fields. A beery, sneering bum with a face like a malignant baby, Fields pauses only long enough to allow his protege, perennial-adolescent Gloria Jean, to catch up with him. There is no pretence of continuity--the film is Fields and it is funny.
Though the feature is a Fields day for fans of that comedian, Chaplin devotees will be disappointed in the two accompanying shorts. Admittedly, pictures of 1915 were primitive, but Shanghaied and Triple Trouble are barbaric. With no dialogue they are still far from silent. Loud, incongruous music blares and the celluloid flickers and snaps. What is more, Chaplin is an unpolished beginner. Only when he dances with a mutton leg or steals from a pickpocket is there a hint of the comedy Chaplin will later achieve.