W.C. Fields in “Follow the Boys”

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Following Tales of Manhattan, W.C. Fields had a long dry period — by that I mean no work. Most of 1943 was spent taking rest cures or vainly seeking movie roles. (He was still wealthy, by the way — he sought employment because that was all he had ever known. He liked being a star). Then, at the end of the year, his old colleague Eddie Sutherland cast him in Follow the Boys,  a patriotic revue film, in which George Raft’s character organizes a vaudeville show to entertain the troops. In the film Fields performs his 40 year old pool routine for the last time, and even does a spot of juggling. His turn lasts all of 15 minutes…a long stretch in such a film, if you think about it. Follow the Boys was released in May, 1944. As always, his was the bright spot in the picture both with audiences and critics.

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