AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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It's a Gift
Director: Norman McLeod (Dir)
Release Date:   30 Nov 1934
Duration (in mins):  67-68 or 70 or 73
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Cast: W. C. Fields  (Harold Bissonette)
  Kathleen Howard  (Amelia Bissonette)
  Jean Rouverol  (Mildred Bissonette)
 

Summary: In New Jersey, inept storekeeper Harold Bissonette is constantly badgered by his domineering wife Amelia, his obnoxious son Norman and his lovestruck daughter Mildred. When his Uncle Bean dies, Harold uses his $5,000 inheritance to buy an orange ranch in California through Mildred's boyfriend, John Durston, but does not tell Amelia. In the meantime, life's little details continually frustrate Harold. After several catastrophes at his store, variously involving a child, a blind man and molasses, he goes home to a wife who nags throughout the night. Harold tries to sleep on the balcony, where noisy neighbors, children and the milkman contrive to keep him awake. When John finds out that the ranch is no good for growing oranges, he tells Harold, who refuses to believe him. Harold packs up his family and they journey to California in a broken-down "flivver," running into a number of escapades en route. The property in California turns out to be a run-down shack surrounded by acres of dirt and weeds. Amelia furiously takes the children and begins walking off, leaving Harold behind with his faithful dog. Just then their neighbor, Clarence Abernathy, drives up to tell Harold that two racetrack owners are coming to buy Harold's property. The men offer him $25,000 for the land, but despite Amelia's harassment, Harold holds out until he gets $44,000 for Abernathy's commission and a successful orange ranch for himself. In the end, Harold leads a leisurely life as owner of Bissonette's Bluebird Oranges, gaining the peace he so needs while his wife and children attend social functions. 

Distribution Company: Paramount Productions, Inc.
Production Company: Paramount Productions, Inc.
Director: Norman McLeod (Dir)
Producer: Adolph Zukor (Pres)
  William Le Baron (Prod)
  Emanuel Cohen (Exec prod)
Writer: Jack Cunningham (Scr)
  Charles Bogle (Story)
  Eddie Welch (Contr to spec seq)
  John Sinclair (Contr to spec seq)
  Lou Breslow (Contr to spec seq)
  Harry Ruskin (Contr to spec seq)
  Garnett Weston (Contr to trmt)
  Claude Binyon (Contr to trmt)
  Paul Gerard Smith (Contr to trmt)
  Howard J. Green (Contr to trmt)

Subject Major: California
  Family life
  Grocery stores
  Henpecked husbands
  Inheritance
  Land sales
 
Subject Minor: Apartments
  Automobiles
  Blindness
  Children
  Delivery men
  Dogs
  Drunkenness
  Fatherhood
  Milkmen
  Neighbors
  New Jersey
  Oranges
  Ranches

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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