In the series of documentaries directed by Richard Schickel following classic film directors, this episode interviews the creative mind behind "My Fair Lady", "The Philadelphia Story", "... See full summary »
Joe Doakes is giving his latest lecture, this one directed to and about men who often have an inferiority complex, which in turn makes them look more inferior than they really are. That inferiority can take many forms. A man can feel inferior to people of authority, such as a minister performing his wedding ceremony, or a police officer who would be willing to provide directions if asked. A man can feel inferior even to people not in authoritative positions, such as a tailor, when the tailor is measuring the man or trying to sell him a white suit he doesn't want. A man can even feel inferior through inanimate objects, such as wearing that white suit he didn't want to buy. Such inferiority can make a man look guilty of doing something, even something illegal, when in truth he is totally innocent. Written by
Whether you're a fan or not of Robert Benchley you should find yourself having a great time with this one. In the film Benchley plays his alter ego Mr. Doakes. This time out he suffers from an inferior complex, which results in him not being able to cope with certain situations. One example is when he goes to check into a hotel with his wife, he fears that the worker might feel he's being dirty with a non-wife so he asks for separate rooms. Another example comes when he needs directions but is afraid to ask fearing that the worker might think he's dumb. From the three dozen or so Benchley shorts I've seen, there's no question that this one here is the best and it certainly contains some of the biggest laughs. There's one very funny moment after another with one of the biggest laughs coming from when he's being fitted for a new suit and tries as to why he wears such a large size. Another funny sequence is one where Benchley is forced to buy a white suit and is too embarrassed to walk down the streets so he pays a guy to drive him to work. Benchley's humor has always been dry and it's always been hit and miss with me but this short here is one that should appeal to just about anyone. The jokes are very fast and most important they work extremely well.
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