It's a Gift

1934 film by Norman Z. McLeod

It's a Gift is a 1934 American comedy film about a small-town grocer beleaguered by a shrewish wife, an incompetent assistant, and assorted annoying children, customers, and salesmen.

Directed by Norman McLeod. Written by Jack Cunningham, based on a story by Charles Bogle (W.C. Fields) and J.P. McEvoy.


Norman: What's the matter, Pop? Don't you love me anymore?
Harold: [pulling back his arm as if to swat his son] Certainly I love ya.
Amelia: [shrieking] Don't you strike that child!
Harold: Well, he's not gonna tell me I don't love him.

Amelia: Harold, I want one thing settled. If you get any money from your Uncle Bean, you are not going to buy an orange ranch with it.
Harold: Oh, no, no, no, no.
Amelia: Don't try that innocent look with me. We need things in the house. I haven't a STITCH to my back! The children need clothes. And we should have a car...I don't know where you get the idea you can make money raising oranges when you can't even run a corner grocery store.
Harold: [distractedly salting his food] I know a lot about raising oranges.
Amelia: What are you so nervous about? You haven't eaten a bite.
Harold: I'm not hungry.
Amelia: Well, that won't be worth eating if you put any more salt on it.
Harold: Oh, no, no, no, no. [picks up roller skates] How much did it cost to fix these skates?
[The eight o'clock whistle blows; Harold retreats to the kitchen]
Amelia: Wait, I'm not through with you. Now I KNOW you've got something on your mind. You're CONSTANTLY doing things behind my back and I know nothing about them till you're in some sort of a SCRAPE and I have to get you out. Remember that scheme to revive the celluloid collar you had a couple of years ago? Well, THAT was going to make us a fortune. WHERE is it? Now you've got an orange ranch on your mind. Well, nothing will come of it. You're not going to drag me and the children across this country, away from friends and relatives. If any money comes into this family, I'M going to handle it and put it to some practical purpose. And THAT'S that...

Mildred: You're just trying to ruin the lives and future of everybody in this family.
Harold: Me?
Mildred: You don't care how much you take me away from people I like.
Amelia: Harold, are you listening to me?
Harold: Oh yes, yes, dear, go on, go on...
Amelia: What did I say last?
Harold: Yes, yes, every word of it, yes..
Mildred: I never knew such an ungrateful father.
Harold: [to Mildred] Listen, you've all got to realize one thing that I [he tentatively glances in the direction of his wife, and then whispers so his wife won't hear] am the master of this household.
Amelia: HAROLD!
Harold: Yes, dear?
Amelia: I don't know why it is that every time I want to talk to you, you're off in some other part of the house. I have to shout, SHOUT, SHOUT! No wonder the neighbors know all about our private affairs. I get little enough opportunity as it is to find out what's going on, without you running away as if I had the SMALLPOX or something. Every time I open my MOUTH...
[Harold sneaks out]

Harold: Open the door for Mr. Muckle.
Everett: What?
Harold: Open the door for Mr. Muckle, the blind man!
Everett: Whadya say?
Fitchmueller: CUMQUATS!

Harold: What can I do, uh... [retrieving the ear trumpet] WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU?
Muckle: Have you got any chewing gum?
Harold: Uh, yes we have. [Shouting into the earpiece] YES WE HAVE! YES! YES WE HAVE!
Harold: Coming, coming, coming, coming, coming.

Fitchmueller: C-u-m-q-u-a-t-s.
Harold: Oh yeah, C - U - M -
Fitchmueller: q-u-a-t-s, quats, quats.
Harold: Two quats?
Fitchmueller: No, one quat.
Harold: Oh yea, Q - U - A -
Fitchmueller: t-s, t-s.
Harold: T -
Fitchmueller: s, s, s.
Harold: Oh yes, yes, I've got it. S - S - is cumquats. Yes. Now uhm, let me see, uh?

Mrs. Dunk: What have you in the way of steaks?
Harold: Nothing in the way of steaks, we can get right to them!

Amelia: The only real money you ever have and you throw it away before you get your hands on a penny of it!...I don't see how you got the bank to lend you money on the strength of your getting anything from Uncle Bean's estate. Probably stopped into the saloon on the way there...Never a thought of me or the children. No insurance. Nothing. What if something should happen to you? Your Uncle Bean wasn't much older than you are...Are you listening to me? Wake up. Wake up and go to sleep! I've given you the best years of my life...And now I suppose I'll have to spend the rest of them depending on that grocery store for a bare existence.
Harold: I sold the grocery store...I'm now in the orange business.

Amelia: Funny thing they should call you up here at this hour of the night from the maternity hospital.
Harold: They didn't call me up here from the maternity hospital. They wanted to know if this was the maternity hospital!
Amelia: Oh! Now you change it!
Harold: No I didn't change it, dear. I told you. They asked me if this was the maternity hospital.
Amelia: Don't make it any worse!...I don't know how you expect anybody to get any sleep, hopping in and out of bed all night, tinkering around the house, waiting up for telephone calls. You have absolutely no consideration for anybody but yourself. I have to get UP in the morning, get breakfast for YOU and the children. I have no MAID, you know. Probably never shall have.

Salesman: Is this 1726 Prill Avenue?
Harold: No.
Salesman: Is there a Prill Avenue in this neighborhood?
Harold: I don't know.
Salesman: Do you know a man by the name of La Fong? Carl LaFong! Capital L, small a, capital F, small o, small n, small g. LaFong! Carl LaFong!
Harold: No, I don't know Carl LaFong, capital L, small a, capital F, small o, small n, small g. And if I did know Carl LaFong, I wouldn't admit it.
Salesman: Well, he's a railroad man and he leaves home very early in the morning.
Harold: Well, he's a chump.

Amelia: [after Harold gets in an accident] Now look what you've done!
Harold: She ran right in front of the car!
Amelia: It's a statue, you idiot.

Amelia: Why were you standing there like a stone image when those men were insulting me?
Harold: I was just waiting for one of 'em to say something to me.

Harry Payne Bosterly: You're drunk!
Harold: And you're crazy. But I'll be sober tomorrow and you'll be crazy for the rest of your life.


  • California or Bust! And what they don't burn, they practically wreck...just as they will wreck you with laughter in this coast-to-coast joy-ride!


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