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Festival Screening: W.C. Fields “So’s Your Old Man” (1926) shown in 35mm made from the original nitrate negative

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Lobby card for the film "So's Your Old Man" (1926) starring W.C. Fields. The artwork is a cartoon-like drawing of a woman holding a man's face while a crowd looks on.
                                  “So’s Your Old Man” (1926)

The Library of Congress Festival of Film & Sound will be held June 15-18 at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, and will bring together authors, historians, enthusiasts, archivists and curators to enjoy classic rare silent and sound films from the 1920s through the early 1950s not available on Blu-ray or streaming services. The festival will feature screenings, Q&A speaker sessions, lectures, and the films will each spotlight different aspects of “Music and Sound,” the theme of this year’s festival.

A highlight of this year’s festival is a special screening of W.C. Fields in “So’s Your Old Man” (1926) featuring live music accompaniment. The film was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2008, and will be shown in a 35mm print made from the original nitrate camera negative. 

In this hilarious comedy, the best of his surviving silent features, W.C. Fields stars as a small-town inventor and local embarrassment who is convinced that his invention of an unbreakable car windshield will set him up for life. After an innocent encounter on a train is misconstrued as a romantic liaison, the community and his wife turn against him. When the woman on the train turns out to be a princess accompanied by her playboy husband, Fields has a chance at redemption. 

Directed by Gregory La Cava, the story was tailored for Fields with many of his favorite elements, including his love of automobiles, and the lengthy recreation of his famous golf routine from the Ziegfeld Follies. 

You can read more about W.C. Fields and the making of “So’s Your Old Man” in an essay by Steve Massa.

You can view a list of scheduled films and speakers at the Festival of Film & Sound website  and purchase festival passes online through the AFI Silver box office.




  1. Every time I see So’s Your Old Man, I glean more insights and depth into my beloved grandfather and spiritual inspiration, W.C. Fields. His career from stage in New York on the Bowery to performing across the globe, back to Broadway as star, silents across the East River, and then to Hollywood and Talkies and Radio. Of all the great entertainment icons, W.C. Fields is the only one who rose to the top in all entertainment media of the time.

    In October 2008, I saw So’s Your Old Man at the Pordenone Silent Film, where my grandfather’s silent films were featured all week. Some opine that the overwhelmingly positive response at Pordenone – the largest silent film Festival in the world, brought the votes over the top in December 2008 for So’s Your Old Man to National Film Registry acclaim.

    The talking version of So’s Your Old Man is You’re Telling Me. In both versions the scene with Princess Lescaboura on the Train, is my beloved grandfather, W.C. Fields at his most tender and real. Never have I seen such sweetness and gentleness in another human being.

    As the then Librarian of Congress said to me in his office here in Washington with near tears in his eyes about his fellow Philadelphian, W.C. Fields is the Icon of American Culture and Humor (Dr. James Billington, 2000).

    And now, today, 2023, my beloved grandfather, W.C. Fields opens the Library of Congress Inaugural Film Festival with the National Film Registry acclaimed So’s Your Old Man.

    W.C. Fields said, “If I can make them laugh and through that laughter make this old world seem just a little brighter, then I am satisfied.” An act of love from artist to audience, and audience back again. All best wishes to all in 2023 at the Inaugural Library of Congress Film Festival opening with my beloved grandfather. Dr. Harriet Fields

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