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Film / So's Your Old Man

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So's Your Old Man is a 1926 comedy feature film directed by Gregory La Cava, and starring W. C. Fields in one of his first major roles.

Fields plays Samuel Brisbee, a husband and father in Waukeagus, NJ. He is also a professional glazier, and has invented a new shatter-proof glass windshield. His daughter is in love with the young scion of the richest family in town, but Sam's uncouth behavior when the young man's mother comes to visit leads her to forbid the marriage. His wife kicks him out of the house over this. His work goes bad too when he massively screws up a demonstration for auto executives and doesn't sell his new windshield. Sam is contemplating suicide on the train back home when he happens to meet a Spanish princess traveling incognito. The princess resolves to help her new friend out.


  • And a Diet Coke: Alcohol-related example. After filling a whole glass—not a cocktail glass or anything, but a whole dinner glass—almost to the rim with liquor, Sam dilutes it with a single drop of water.
  • Call-Back: The second time Sam says "So's your old man!". See Title Drop below.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: The only explanation for the utter lack of interest shown by the other man in the train's men's room, after observing that Sam is about to kill himself.
    "Why don't you drown yourself? It's funnier."
  • Dangerously Close Shave: Played for a gag in a scene where Sam cringes while watching a man try to shave himself on a shaking, bouncing train, with a giant straight razor.
  • Deus ex Machina: Is your marriage on the rocks? Professional career a failure? Thinking about suicide? Well, maybe you'll meet a kindly Spanish princess who will decide to go out of her way to help you.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Fields does not play the misanthropic, child-hating type that he did for most of his career in talking films. Here he is a generally nice if crude guy, and a loving father. He also looks much different—he's much thinner and more nimble than in his later films, and he's wearing a silly-looking bushy mustache.
  • Gargle Blaster: Sam drinks from a jug that is actually filled with roach poison. After figuring this out his buddy gives him the similar-looking jug that holds the moonshine. After smelling the moonshine, Sam goes back to drinking the roach poison.
  • Gossipy Hens: The gossipy old ladies that see Sam on the train with the princess, draw the wrong conclusion, and spread the news all over town.
  • Impairment Shot: The princess goes in and out of focus as she's talking to a drunk Sam.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Sam's confrontation with the obnoxious man in the train bathroom leads him to drop the bottle of poison he was about to drink.
  • Ironic Echo: The second time Sam uses the title line, it's in a totally different way. See Title Drop below.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Mrs. Murchison exercises it after meeting Sam.
  • Rich Bitch: The snobbish Mrs. Murchison, who always has her nose in the air and says that she can't allow Kenneth to marry Alice because of the "great social gulf" between their families.
  • Serenade Your Lover: Kenneth does this for Alice as they swing on a swing out in the yard.
  • Title Drop: Sam responds to Mrs. Murchison's insults with a Title Drop. At the end, after his daughter says how happy she is, Sam says the title line again, this time in an entirely different spirit.
  • Uptown Girl: A romance between rich young Kenneth Murchison and Sam's daughter Alice.
  • Your Mom: "So's your old man!" was once a Spear Counterpart to Your Mom.