George Washington Slept Here

George Washington Slept Here

Director: William Keighley

Cast: Jack Benny, Ann Sheridan, Charles Coburn

     
 

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. EverettSee more details below

Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
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.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/12/2013
UPC:
0883316879375
Original Release:
1942
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:32:00
Sales rank:
293

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jack Benny Bill Fuller
Ann Sheridan Connie Fuller
Charles Coburn Uncle Stanley
Percy Kilbride Mr. Kimber
Hattie McDaniel Hester
Franklin Pangborn Mr. Gibney
William Tracy Steve Eldredge
Joyce Reynolds Madge
Lee Patrick Rena Leslie
Charles Dingle Mr. Prescott
John Emery Clayton Evans
Harvey Stephens Jeff Douglas
Glen Cavender Well Digger
Chester Clute Man
Dudley Dickerson Porter
Sol (Saul) Gorss Actor
Hank Mann Actor
Jack Mower Passenger
Cliff Saum Moving Man
Isabel Withers Woman
Gertrude Carr Wife
Douglas Croft Raymond

Technical Credits
William Keighley Director
Ralph Dawson Editor
Adolph Deutsch Score Composer
Everett Freeman Screenwriter
George S. Kaufman Screenwriter
Ernest Haller Cinematographer
Moss Hart Screenwriter
Mark-Lee Kirk Production Designer
Charles Lang Sound/Sound Designer
Orry-Kelly Costumes/Costume Designer
Max Parker Art Director
Casey Roberts Set Decoration/Design
Jerry Wald Producer
Perc Westmore Makeup

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