Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The Moss Hart-George S. Kaufman Broadway hit George Washington Slept Here has herein been tailored to the unique talents of Jack Benny. In the original play, city dweller Bill Fuller, fired up with the spirit of "back to the soil," purchases a ramshackle Colonial-era farmhouse in upstate New York, dragging his reluctant wife, Connie, along for the ride. Everett Freeman's screenplay retains the basic set-up with one important difference: in the film, it is Connie Fuller (Ann Sheridan), an inveterate antique collector, who is all hopped up about buying and renovating the old farmhouse, while husband Bill (Jack Benny), with visions of abject poverty dancing in his head, hates the whole idea. This slight character alteration allows Jack Benny to indulge in the frustrated, put-upon slow-burn comedy he does so well, while still leaving Hart and Kaufman's dextrous plot twists and punch lines intact. Most of the humor derives from the thousand-and-one "little" flaws in the drafty old house -- collapsing walls and ceilings, antiquated plumbing, et al. -- all duly categorized by laconic caretaker Mr. Kimber (Percy Kilbride, in a brilliant performance). Also thickening the plot are the efforts by the near-bankrupt Bill and Connie to curry favor with their wealthy uncle Stanley (Charles Coburn), who turns out to be a cheerful old fraud. The resolution of the plotline is inherent in the title, but there's still one last indignity left to be dumped on poor Bill Fuller's head at fade-out time.
home-improvement, antiques, country-home, fish-out-of-water, house, husband-and-wife, Americana, letter