Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

My Little Chickadee (1940)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

My Little Chickadee (1940)

In Edward Cline's western comedy, the only film pairing both W.C. Fields and Mae West, with the backdrop of the 1880s American West:

  • the set-up: Chicago singer Flower Belle Lee (Mae West) was on a journey westward to see her relatives in the town of Little Bend: her Aunt Lou (Ruth Donnelly) and Uncle John (Willard Robertson)
  • her stagecoach (with a gold shipment) was held up by a Zorro-like "Masked Bandit," who ordered Flower Belle and a town gossip and prudish busybody Mrs. Gideon (Margaret Hamilton) out of the coach; Flower Belle was annoyed: "Don't mind being held up, but I don't like the inconvenience"; as the Bandit rode off with the gold in his saddlebags, he grabbed Flower Belle onto his horse for an abduction - and she had a nocturnal rendezvous with her kidnapper
  • and later, Flower Belle was expelled from Little Bend by a judge (Addison Richards) for her indifference, sauciness and her romance with the mysterious "Masked Bandit": ("On account of her carryings-on in Little Bend, she was asked to leave town and she will not be permitted to return until she is respectable and married")
  • on the train to Greasewood City, she met con-man Cuthbert J. Twillie (W. C. Fields), who introduced himself by presenting his card, with the subtitle "Novelties & Notions"; he complimented her name: "Flower Belle. What a euphonious appellation. Easy on the ears and a banquet for the eyes"; she replied: "You're kind of cute yourself"
  • during an Indian attack on the train - with arrows whizzing by Flower Belle, she fired back with two six-shooters: "They can't get away with this. They can't intimidate me...This is better than a shooting gallery"
  • after the Indian attack, Twillie held and kissed Flower Belle's gloved hand, and exclaimed: "Ah, what symmetrical digits! Soft as the fuzz of a baby's arm"; Twillie impulsively proposed: "Is it possible for us to be lonesome together?"; moving over to sit next to her, he promised: "I will be all things to you: father, mother, husband, counselor, Jackanapes, bartender...My heart is a bargain today. Will you take me?"
  • believing that Twillie was rich after eyeing his bag full of money (it only contained phony oil-well coupons), she accepted Twillie's proposal of marriage - with a roll of her eyes: "I'll take you, and how"
  • they were married aboard the train - a phony sham ceremony officiated by one of the passengers Amos Budge (Donald Meek), a gambler who looked and acted like a minister
  • in Greasewood City, Flower Belle insisted that they have separate rooms when they checked into the hotel, although he attempted to sweet talk her with cute names: "My little dove pie....My little sugar-coated wedding cake"; he realized when she shut her door on him: "Seems to me I'm getting the old heave-ho"
  • Twillie spent much of his time in the hotel's downstairs bar, playing cards and commiserating with other gamblers and drunks over how he was rejected for trying to acquire his rightful conjugal privileges
  • after boasting about bravely facing the Indians attacking the train, Twillie was made Sheriff by the corrupt town boss and saloon owner Jeff Badger (Joseph Calleia), who knew that previous Sheriffs had suffered a high mortality rate; Badger and the town's crusading newspaper editor-reporter Wayne Carter (Dick Foran) both were attracted to Flower Belle
Teaching School
Twillie in Bed With a Goat
Kissing the "Masked Bandit"
  • when the town's schoolteacher fell ill, Flower Belle assured everyone that she would be a good schoolmarm teaching arithmetic, and told her rowdy class of male schoolboys: "I was always pretty good at figures, myself"
  • there were many humorous attempts of Twillie to 'consummate' his marriage to Flower Belle, who once found himself making love to a goat in their bed ("Darling, have you changed your perfume?")
  • Twillie was accused of being the Masked Bandit (a disguise he used to trick her and get into her boudoir) after an unfamiliar kiss with Flower Belle gave his identity away; he was strung up by a lynch mob and delivered his last wish ("I'd like to see Paris before I die. Philadelphia will do")
  • when Flower Belle went to Badger to help rescue Twillie from death, she kissed him and realized he was the true Masked Bandit ("That man's kiss is like a signature"); Twillie was saved from hanging by Flower Belle's intervention (she shot at the noose-rope); it was revealed to the townsfolk that Badger was the Masked Bandit, and Twillie was released
  • at the conclusion, Flower Belle told other possible suitors: "Any time you got nothin' to do and lots of time to do it, come up"
  • both of the main stars exchanged trademarked quips - Twillie delivered his last line to Flower Belle as he left town to go East to attend to his "hair" oil wells: "If you get up around the Grampian Hills, you must come up and see me sometime" (Mae West's signature line); she responded: "Aw, yeah, yeah, I'll do that, my little chickadee" (W.C. Fields' catchphrase)
" must come up and see me sometime"
"...I'll do that, my little chickadee"
  • in the camera's last image -- as Flower Belle sashayed her bottom to ascend the stairs, the words "THE END" were super-imposed on her rear end

Flower Belle Kidnapped by the Masked Bandit After Stagecoach Holdup

Twillie to Flower Belle: "What a euphonious appellation. Easy on the ears and a banquet for the eyes"

Indian Attack: Flower Belle Firing Back

On the Train: Twillie to Flower Belle: "What symmetrical digits!"

Response to Twillie's Marriage Proposal: "I'll take you, and how"

Twillie's Bag "Full of Money"

The Ceremony

At the Greasewood City Hotel: "Seems to me I'm getting the old heave-ho"

Flower Belle Saving Twillie From a Hanging


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