For Reel

George Washington Slept Here (1942)
May 13, 2015, 7:59 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: William Keighley
3 Stars
George Washington Slept HereThis comedy about the headaches of home renovation stars Jack Benny as the put-upon husband of an antique-crazed wife (Ann Sheridan). After she surprises him with the purchase of a dilapidated farmhouse in the country, he spends most of the picture fuming and falling through the broken floorboards. Benny was often used to his greatest effect in roles that were nonchalant and reactionary–in The Horn Blows at Midnight, he plays an angel tasked with bringing upon the apocalypse and he did so with a carefree disregard. George Washington Slept Here instead casts him as a martyr who irascibly navigates his person hell. The one-liners don’t come as often as one would like, but Benny’s crossness does lead to some hearty chuckles–when informed that he needs to spray the trees on his property to protect them from insects, he points to the trees of a nearby forest and complains, “Who sprays all those trees?” The art direction team led by Max Parker did an admirable job of tearing apart the set of Arsenic and Old Lace to create the memorable ramshackle home.

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