George Washington Slept Here (1942)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Slapstick  |   Release Date - Nov 28, 1942 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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A very pleasant and amusing "house from Hell" comedy, George Washington Slept Here is one of Jack Benny's more memorable motion pictures. Although Benny was an enormous star in other media, his magic didn't quite translate to the big screen. It's not that Benny's persona was too limited to fill a feature-length production; it's more that filmmakers didn't know how to package it properly. This is less of a problem with Washington, since the Kaufman-Hart play that is its source is so tightly plotted and provides ample moments for classic Benny reactions. Some might find the plotting a bit too tight, resulting in a mechanical feel. Fortunately, director William Keighley keeps things moving at a snappy pace, with so many situations building up one after the other that most viewers will be too distracted to care about the mechanics. There's also plenty of delightful Kaufman-Hart banter in Everett Freeman's well-adapted screenplay -- as well as an hilarious out-of-nowhere performance of "I'll Never Smile Again" from Percy Kilbride that brings the house down. Kilbride is in great form throughout, providing a great foil for Benny, and Ann Sheridan's beauty is matched only by her deft handling of ironic turns of phrases. Washington is not quite the grand comedy as the similar Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, but it's a great deal of fun.