Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Bank Dick (1940)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Bank Dick (1940)

In one of W.C. Fields' classic comedies (his last great one) with wonderful, bumbling sight gags and hilarious one-liners:

  • the title character was Egbert Souse (W. C. Fields) (pronounced "Soo-zay"), a drunken, unemployed, no-account, henpecked, child-hating husband living in Lompoc, California (pronounced Lompoke); to escape from his family who often complained: "House just smells of liquor and smoke," lush barfly Egbert Souse often snuck out to the Black Pussy Cat Cafe for stiff drinks, where he often performed a drinking routine in front of bar proprietor Joe Guelpe (Shemp Howard, one of the replacement Three Stooges) - he dipped his fingers in a glass of water, dried them with a paper napkin that he crumpled and rolled into a ball, then tossed it into the air over his shoulder and neatly kicked it away with the heel of his shoe, followed by a burb and cough
  • his family included his cranky mother-in-law Mrs. Hermisillo Brunch (Jessie Ralph), his younger daughter Elsie Mae Adele Brunch Souse (Evelyn Del Rio), and his nagging wife Agatha Sousé (Cora Witherspoon)

Egbert Substituting For Drunken Movie Director

Egbert's Astonished Family

Elsie Mae Demanding a Part in the Movie
  • to his family's astonishment, he had the opportunity to direct an on-location movie in town (to replace drunken director A. Pismo Clam (Jack Norton)); after his chair toppled backwards off his majestic perch on the platform, his bratty young daughter Elsie Mae approached, pulled on his coat tails, and demanded a part in the picture: "I wanna be in the picture (he deferred her request by patting her on the head)...What's the matter, Pop? Don't ya love me?"; when Egbert went to slug her, Cora threatened: "Don't you dare strike that child!" - to which Egbert replied: "She's not gonna tell me I don't love her!"
  • he also inadvertently foiled a bank robbery in town for allegedly capturing Loudmouth McNasty (George Moran), one of two bank robbers with the money, and was rewarded for his accidental heroism with a free bank calendar and an in-bank position as a vigilant bank security guard (or "dick"-detective) by grateful Lompoc State Bank president Mr. Skinner (Pierre Watkin)
  • Egbert met with the pompous Mr. Skinner to be congratulated on his daring, gallant deed: "And I wish to personally give you a hearty handclasp." Skinner avoided shaking Sousè's outstretched limp-wristed hand, barely touching the tips of his fingers to his palm
  • Egbert also concocted an ill-advised embezzlement plan (with the complicity of his future, dim-witted son-in-law Og Oggilby (Grady Sutton), a bank clerk and the fiancee of his lovesick oldest daughter Myrtle (Una Merkel)) to temporarily "borrow" or steal $500 from the bank (until he could repay the money with Og's bonus due in a few days) to invest in worthless stock in the questionable and flimsy mining operation known as the Beefsteak Mining Company - offered by charlatan con J. Frothingham Waterbury (Russell Hicks). To convince Og, Egbert told him: "Surely, don't be a luddie-duddie, don't be a moon-calf, don't be a jabbernow, you're not those, are you?"
  • during Egbert's work as a vigilant bank security dick - he choked a young boy in a cowboy outfit waving a toy gun - believing that he was a holdup man - as the bratty boy walked out of the bank, he ridiculed the guard's shiny, bulbous red nose: "Mommy, doesn't that man have a funny nose?" His mother chided him for making fun: "You mustn't make fun of the gentleman, Clifford. You'd like to have a nose like that full of nickels, wouldn't you?"
  • Souse used knock-out Mickey Finn drinks to hold off effeminate, prissy, inquisitive and persistent bank examiner/auditor J. Pinkerton Snoopington (Franklin Pangborn) - who was suspicious of Egbert's financial dealings
  • as it turned out, the Beefsteak Mine stock was actually valuable, and Waterbury urged Egbert to resell him the shares, but before the transaction could occur, the second uncaught bank robber Repulsive Rogan (Al Hill) returned to rob the bank of mining stock and cash, and took Egbert "hostage
  • Egbert was forced to drive the getaway car, with the robber in the back seat; it was a memorable, zany, slapstick car chase scene - a superbly-timed chase amongst multiple cars (Souse's car was followed by the local police, the bank president, and a representative from the movie company) that zoomed and circled around, barely avoiding crashing into each other or other obstacles in the path
Getaway Car Chase
  • the getaway car careened through streets, over ditches (over the heads of ditchdiggers), around curves and up a mountainside, missing collisions at every turn with the pursuit vehicles. When asked by the thug in the back seat to give him the wheel, Egbert matter-of-factly pulled it off the steering column and gave it to him
  • after the robber was struck unconscious by a tree branch and apprehended, Sousè was an unlikely hero once again for thwarting another heist; this time, he received $5,000 for capturing the thief, and a film company bought his story for $10,000 - funds he used to purchase a top hat and tails, and a new mansion, before returning for a visit to the Black Pussy Cat Cafe

Egbert's Drinking Routine at The Black Pussy Cat Cafe

Egbert's "Hearty Handclasp" With the Bank President Skinner

Egbert to Og: "Don't be a luddy-duddy. Don't be a moon calf..."

Egbert (as a Bank Dick) Fighting with Young Boy in the Bank

Meeting the Suspicious Bank Examiner J. Pinkerton Snoopington


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