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Mississippi (1935) W.C. Fields, Bing Crosby, Joan Bennett (Complete Movie)

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Mississippi is a 1935 American musical comedy film directed by A. Edward Sutherland and starring Bing Crosby, W.C. Fields, and Joan Bennett.

Written by Francis Martin and Jack Cunningham based on the novel Magnolia by Booth Tarkington, the film is about a young pacifist who, after refusing on principle to defend his sweetheart’s honor and being banished in disgrace, joins a riverboat troupe as a singer and acquires a reputation as a crackshot after a saloon brawl in which a villain accidentally kills himself with his own gun. The film was produced and distributed by Paramount Pictures.

Mississippi has the distinction of being the only W.C. Fields film with a score by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. It is also the only film in which Fields co-starred with Crosby.

The original running time of this black-and-white film was 80 minutes.

Commodore Jackson (W.C. Fields) is the captain of a Mississippi showboat in the late nineteenth century.

Tom Grayson (Bing Crosby) is engaged to be married and has been disgraced for refusing to fight a duel with Major Patterson (John Miljan).

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Accused of being a coward, Grayson joins Jackson’s showboat.

Over the duration of the film, the behaviour of the meek and mild Tom Grayson alters as a consequence of the constant representation of him, by Commodore Jackson, as “The Notorious Colonel Steele”, “the Singing Killer”, and the constant attribution, by Jackson, of duelling victories by Grayson to unrelated corpses freshly dragged from the river beside the showboat as “yet another victim of the notorious Colonel Steele, the Singing Killer”.

The film provides sufficient opportunities for Crosby to sing the Rodgers and Hart songs, including the centerpiece number, “Soon”, while Fields gets to tell some outlandish stories.

Crosby and Fields worked well together and there is one memorable scene in which Fields tries to tell Crosby how to act tougher.

In the film, Crosby does a number of brilliantly engineered sight gags involving a chair and a bowie knife.

Another highlight is Fields’ remarkable story about his exploits among one notorious Indian tribe.

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