The Bank Dick (1940)

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The Bank Dick, released as The Bank Detective in the United Kingdom, is a 1940 comedy film starring W. C. Fields. Set in Lompoc, California, Fields plays Egbert Sousé who accidentally thwarts a bank robbery and ends up a bank security guard as a result. The character is a drunk who must repeatedly remind people in exasperation that his name is pronounced "Sousé—accent grave over the 'e'!", because people keep calling him "Souse", slang for drunkard. In addition to bank and family scenes, it features Fields pretending to be a film director and ends in a chaotic car chase. The Bank Dick is considered a classic of his work, incorporating his usual persona as a drunken henpecked husband with a shrewish wife, disapproving mother-in-law, and savage children.

The film was written by Fields, using the alias "Mahatma Kane Jeeves", derived from the Broadway drawing-room comedy cliche, "My hat, my cane, Jeeves!"), and directed by Edward F. Cline. The featured actors were Una Merkel, Richard Purcell, Shemp Howard—later one of the Three Stooges, Franklin Pangborn, Grady Sutton, Jessie Ralph, and Cora Witherspoon.

In 1992, The Bank Dick was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

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