Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 6, 2015


GEORGE WASHINGTON SLEPT HERE (1942). Director: William Keighley. Based on the stage play by Kaufman and Hart.

Bill Fuller (Jack Benny) is a harried husband whose wife, Connie (Ann Sheridan), wants to move to the country, a situation which does not sit well with Bill and even less with the opinionated maid, Hester (Hattie McDaniel), who threatens to resign at any second. The house Connie buys on the sly is a dilapidated wreck that is falling down around them, but Connie is impressed with the story that George Washington may have once stayed there. Unfortunately, Mr. Kimber (Percy Kilbride, playing a role similar to his "Pa Kettle" in The Egg and I  five years later), can't seem to find water in the well; neighbor Mr. Prescott (Charles Dingle) gets them into a legal hassle involving property lines; and unwelcome visitors include scamp nephew Raymond (Douglas Croft of Batman), free-loading Uncle William (Charles Coburn). and a cow who walks in through a hole in the wall of the kitchen. And wait'll you get a load of the seventy-year-locusts! In addition to these great cast members , we have John Emery and Lee Patrick as a couple who stop by during a storm, and the ever-delightful Franklin Pangborn as the manager of the Fuller's apartment house. Joyce Reynolds plays Connie's younger sister, Madge; Harvey Stephens is a helpful neighbor; and William Tracy is Madge's beau. Kaufman and Hart also wrote The Man Who Came to Dinner and You Can't Take It With You.

Verdict: A very, very funny movie. ***1/2.


Neil A Russell said...

I've been wanting to see this movie for years.
Jack essentially "discovered" Percy Kilbride after seeing him on the stage in this very play in New York and fought the head office to get a screen test for Kilbride even offering to pay all the expenses for the shoot.
I found it interesting that the roles from the play are reversed by the leads here so that Jack could end up with most of the choice funny lines. That wasn't because he demanded it, it's just that it worked better for Jack to be the foil to Anne Sheridan's straight role.
Since I always loved "Mr Blandings Builds his Dream House" I figured this would be something along the same lines.
On a minor note both movies have a native of Georgia in them; Melvyn Douglas of Macon in Blandings and Charles Coburn from Savannah in this picture.

So many fine old movies, so little time!!

William said...

You can say that again! Haven't seen Blandings in years so I'm going to look for it.

Do you mean that Percy Kilbride played the male lead on the stage, and Jack Benny took over that role for the movie? I can't picture Kilbride, good as he was, as the lead in the movie, especially not with Ann Sheridan as his wife, ha!