Saturday, July 27, 2013

THE MEANEST MAN IN THE WORLD (1943)

At only 57 minutes long this might be the shortest "feature length" film ever released into theaters.  I have nothing to back that statement up by the way, but it sounds good.  From what I've read though there were quite a few troubles with the production so I guess we're lucky we got anything at all.

Benny is a small town lawyer who can't get any clients because he's honest and has a soft heart.  He's lack of money doesn't sit well with his fiancee's (Priscilla Lane) father.  He suggests that Benny moves to New York City to try and strike it big.  He does and he's an even bigger failure there than he was back home.  Unfortunately he's been lying to Priscilla and telling her that's he's struck it rich!  He knows that the biggest hindrance to him being a successful lawyer is him being nice so in an effort to be mean he steals a lollipop from a little kid and as chance would have it a newspaper guy takes his picture.  Now he's the biggest lawyer in New York, but how long can he keep this mean act up?

The premise has potential, but it's not very funny.  Most of the jokes are stale and the whole thing (not surprisingly) feels rushed and slapped together.  If you're new to Jack Benny you'd be better off watch the previous year's GEORGE WASHINGTON SLEPT HERE which is much funnier. I'd love to see an extended version of this film, but I doubt it even exists.