I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Sunday, October 27, 2013

George Washington Slept Here (1942)

Bill Fuller (Jack Benny) is not happy to discover that a disagreement his wife Connie (Ann Sheridan) had with their landlord, it's time to move again.  Bill is even more upset when he learns his wife has brought a broken down house out in the country.  "George Washington slept here," she says, but Bill is not sold on the idea.  He prefers city living.  But money has already been sunk into the place, so they attempt -- with comic results -- to make the best of it.

In the original play this film is based on, it was the wife who had a problem with her husband purchasing the house.  The film version has the husband objecting to the situation.  Benny's character is very sarcastic throughout the film, fussing with his wife, arguing with neighbors, suspecting his wife of being too chummy with another guy (Harvey Stephens), and dealing with annoying relatives (Charles Coburn and Douglas Croft).  Percy Kilbride, who appeared in the Ma and Pa Kettle films, plays a handyman who appears to be soaking the Fullers for more and more money to get the house and grounds in order.  Oscar winner Hattie McDaniels plays the Fullers' maid.

The film is not an out-and-out laugh riot, but it is amusing in a lot of spots.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

"The Slowest Gun In The West" (1960)

Nat Hiken, who was responsible for two classic TV series, "The Phil Silvers Show" and "Car 54, Where Are You?", wrote, directed and produced this western comedy.  It was aired as a comedy special.

The town of Primrose, Arizona is overrun by outlaws.  The latest sheriff has been shot down, and the good people of the town have to search for someone else who is willing to take the job.  Fletcher "Fletch" Bissell III, otherwise known as the Silver Dollar Kid (Phil Silvers) rides into down and immediately gets on the wrong side of the bad guys (Ted DeCorsia, Jack Elam, Lee Van Cleef).  Fletch talks a good game, but it's revealed quickly that Fletch is a coward.  Plans are made to kill Fletch to get him out of the way, but he manages to avoid danger.

The guys who want to keep the town crime ridden get an idea:  they decide to find someone to take out Fletch, who despite his ways, has brought peace to town.  They find Chicken Finsterwald, who's claim to gun-slinging fame was shooting an old lady in the back.  When the woman recovered and came looking for him, cowardly Finsterwald (Jack Benny) ran out of town.

Silvers was in fine form, out talking the other characters, and talking his character's way out of trouble.  Silver's brand of comedy worked well with Benny's self-depreciating, understated humor.  I was pleasantly surprised to see Elam and Van Cleef, actors known for their work in serious western films.  Jack Albertson (of "Chico and the Man" fame) appeared as one of the good townspeople, and I barely recognized Marion Ross (Mrs. Cunningham on "Happy Days") as a love interest of Fletch's.

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