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The Great Mr. Nobody
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The Great Mr. Nobody More at IMDbPro »

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Three Cheers For Dreamy!

6/10
Author: David (Handlinghandel) from NY, NY
29 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This probably never figured high in Eddie Albert's resume. Indeed, at first I almost skipped it: The opening scenes with "Skipper" Alan Hale are most unpromising.

(All scenes involving him pull the movie down, in fact.) But it is a very sweet tale, once given a chance. Albert plays newspaper clerk Dreamy, who is far too kind and honorable for his own good. The well-being of his charming girlfriend Joan Leslie also suffers.

He allows his boss to steal his ideas and take credit for them. He helps out any of the downtrodden. Figuring most noticeably in this category is Limpy, the lame newspaper boy, played by Dickie Moore. He and his family are recipients of great, selfless kindness by Dreamy.

It has a happy ending, though not a typical Hollywood ending: After Dreamy has been recognized for the hero he is, he is given some news that thrills him. Indeed, it could be seen as good news. But his final line is funny,ironic, a bit off-kilter, and very touching.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

An unexpected gem that features a selfless Eddie Albert in the title role

7/10
Author: jacobs-greenwood from United States
7 December 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Directed by Benjamin Stoloff, this unexpected gem features Eddie Albert in the title role. Known best for his supporting roles, and later nominated for two Oscars (Roman Holiday (1953) and The Heartbreak Kid (1972)), Albert is the lead in this one, which features several other career supporting actors who, somehow, were never recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences: Alan Hale, John Litel, Charles Trowbridge, Paul Hurst, John Ridgely, Douglas Kennedy, Billy Benedict, and even Joe Devlin and Charles Halton, who appear uncredited.

One is reminded of James Stewart's "George Bailey" character, but only in the sense that one man could touch so many lives through his selfless choices. Unlike It's a Wonderful Life (1946) though, this film has no fantasy sequence nor does the protagonist ever come to regret his choices, preferring instead to remain anonymous for his sacrifices and expecting nothing else out of life except an opportunity to serve his fellow man.

Robert Smith (Albert), called Dreamy by his encouraging, supporting, co-worker and girlfriend Mary (Joan Leslie), works in the classified ads department of one of the three competing newspapers in the city. He dreams of sailing away with his friend "Skipper" Martin (Hale), with whom he's saved just enough to do it. He gives his resignation letter, and the news, to Mary, who's disappointed but puts it on his boss John Wade's desk anyway. Smith picks up his friend in his dilapidated automobile which they've valued at $150, the last of what they need to finally own the Viking, the boat they've mortgaged. He takes the Skipper by his soon-to-former place of employment where Martin can't wait to tell off his cranky old soon- to-be ex-boss (Halton). Unfortunately, however, Smith forgets to set the parking brake and the two witness the car rolling off the dock and into the harbor. Since they can now no longer afford to quit, the Skipper has to swallow his pride and take yet another tongue lashing insult from his current taskmaster, while Smith rushes on foot to reclaim his resignation letter.

On his way into the newspaper offices building, Smith runs into, and briefly greets "Limpy" Barnes (Dickie Moore), a disabled boy who sells papers outside its entrance. Upon learning from Mary that she'd put his letter on Wade's desk, he rushes into the office to interrupt his boss (Litel), who'd been having a drink of whiskey, just in time to retrieve the letter. We learn that Smith isn't thought of very highly by his boss, even though Dreamy thinks Wade, a former Major in the armed services, is "tops". Mary is happy that Dreamy isn't going anywhere too soon and the two go out on a date that evening. Their plans to go to a movie are interrupted when they witness a fire. When Smith sees a fire fighter, who'd already rescued several children, fall down, he rushes into the burning building to save him. However, it's the fireman who carries the overcome Smith out and places him on the sidewalk.

The next day at the newspaper offices, a box is installed into which the employees are encouraged to submit circulation generation ideas for a possible (financial) bonus. Looking at the headlines of the paper in front of him, Smith (who gave the story to reporter Ridgely) comes up with an idea to recognize heroes, like the fireman O'Connor (Hurst), by giving them an award. Meanwhile, a new young attractive executive William Amesworth (William Lundigan), who happens to be a descendant from the paper's founder, is introduced around the offices by Grover Dillon (Trowbridge). He is instantly attracted to Mary, who works on the phone bank which receives the classified ads. When Wade reads Smith's idea, he adopts it as his own, telling Amesworth, who's naturally impressed. Wade then tells Smith that someone else had submitted the very same idea earlier, then gives his employee apparently the only "pat on the back" he ever has. While this seems to satisfy Dreamy just fine, Mary is upset that he's not willing to fight for his due credit. This happens twice more in the film. When Amesworth shows a public interest in Mary, Smith seems to finally recognize what he's got and, against the advice of the Skipper, who thinks all women are trouble, pledges his love to Mary.

Another day, Smith sees a man take a paper from Limpy's stack without paying, and stops him. There's a brief scuffle and Smith's hat falls into the street. When Limpy goes to retrieve it, he's hit by a car. Smith makes sure Limpy is taken care of, eventually giving his apartment to Limpy and his family when, without his income while he recovered, they are evicted. This is the last straw for Skipper, who had tolerated delays in their sailing plans due to Smith's generosity, which prevented them from ever getting over the hump on what they owed on their boat. So, the Skipper leaves in a huff and rues the day he ever made plans with Smith. Meanwhile, Smith tells Mary she is better off without him, that he can't afford to take her out anymore. Though he doesn't tell her why, it's because he's selling everything he owns (including his car, to Devlin) to support Limpy's family, and even pay for an operation to "cure" his limp.

Smith's selflessness continues until he crosses the line by helping the fired office boy (Benedict) get a new job from a yet to be printed want ad, though Smith makes sure the salesman (Kennedy) gets his commission by paying it out of his own pocket.

This eventually leads to Wade firing Smith. But, never fear, with help from Mary, and the Skipper and O'Connor (sort of), a happy ending, if not tear-jerking like Frank Capra's film, is in order. In fact, the very end of the film is perfect for our Dreamy, given his character.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Eddie Albert's Dream Role

6/10
Author: wes-connors from Los Angeles
13 October 2013

Hapless New York newspaper ad salesman Eddie Albert (as Robert "Dreamy" Smith) is finally going to fulfill his dream. He plans to quit work, buy a sailboat and head out for adventure at sea. After a mishap disposing of his automobile, Mr. Albert must cancel the trip. Pretty co-worker Joan Leslie (as Mary Clover) is happy, but jealous roommate Alan Hale (as "Skipper" Martin) thinks Albert should stop dating Ms. Leslie and save money for his share of their boat. Albert gets into more money problems when he decides to help partially crippled paperboy Dickie Moore (as "Limpy" Barnes)...

Hoping for a bonus at work, Albert comes up with ideas to boost the circulation of his newspaper, but sneaky John Litel (as John Wade) takes all the credit. Albert gets in more trouble for helping future "Bowery Boy" William "Billy" Benedict (as Jigs) get a job. As if that wasn't enough, handsome William Lundigan (as Richard Amesworth) moves in on Leslie...

"The Great Mr. Nobody" is quite pleasant, with future "Green Acres" star Albert shining in a whimsical role. It's interesting to hear Mr. Hale being called "Skipper" throughout as he resembles son Alan Hale Jr., familiar as the Skipper on "Gilligan's Island" in the 1960s. However, this Hale acts differently (more like a stocky Robert Young). Hale Jr. patterned his skipper after Oliver Hardy. Also interesting is how much you Moore's crippled newsboy resembles "Captain Marvel Jr." from the best selling comic book introduced shortly after this film. The ending is weak, but certainly fit the times.

****** The Great Mr. Nobody (2/15/41) Benjamin Stoloff ~ Eddie Albert, Alan Hale, Joan Leslie, Dickie Moore

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comic ethical allegory

8/10
Author: Gerold Firl from California
13 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Mr. Nobody is an amusing allegory about the effect of different ethical systems. Dreamy Smith represents innocence and good intentions. In his relations to his close friend and love interest Mary Clover we see that his innocence has a downside: she wants to get closer, but he doesn't pick up on her hints. Her intentions are just as good as Dreamy's, but she is not innocent like him. She's constrained by her female social role, but she understands everything that's going on. She can't make a move on Dreamy or at work - she has to play it passive - but she's under no illusions.

With his innocence comes a power that no other character has: a creative ability to generate ideas that generate value and meaning.

His boss, John Wade, takes credit for Dreamy's ideas, and doesn't give him the bonus money he deserves. He lies to Dreamy about it, and Dreamy doesn't question him, but Clover tells him to man up.

Meanwhile another character, Dreamy's roommate the Skipper, is trying to use him to buy a boat - the Viking - to go roving the seas. He's not a bad guy, but he is a user.

Dreamy gives up his dream of sailing the seven seas to help a poor crippled kid and his family, and he's even willing to give up his love for Mary to get Limpy an operation to fix his foot.

Finally when it seems like Dreamy is toast - his crooked boss Wade fires him from his job after taking credit for all his ideas - Mary steps up and forces Wade to hire him again. It's then that Dreamy commits one more act of senseless generosity: he jumps in the water to save Wade from drowning, though Dreamy can't swim. Wade has to save Dreamy from drowning.

Dreamy's good heart compels the people around him to become better themselves. Mary does too, but to a lesser extent. She has to threaten Wade, but Dreamy does it by faith.

The ending is a little odd: he is given an award for civil courage, and acclaimed by the people who took advantage of him before, and is about to claim Mary as his beloved, when he gets notice that he's been drafted into the army for WWII. Once again he treats it as a privilege - keep in mind this was 1941, and though the US wasn't in yet, it was widely believed that we would have to get involved before it was over.

The power of Dreamy's innocence and good intentions warps the social network around him to make everyone else better. We see this at the personal level, but the ending sends the message that the US will also do this for global geopolitics by making sure WWII ends with the right side on top. A little propagandistic, but well- intentioned.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Frantic, overwrought comedy that needs a Ritalin.

4/10
Author: mark.waltz from United States
16 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Playing a role similar to the one he played opposite Lucille Ball in "The Fuller Brush Girl", Eddie Albert is the poster child for Mr. Wimp. He has a dream of being skipper on his own boat but is too scared to reach for his dreams and too manipulated by everybody to stand up for himself. He sets out to resign his job at a newspaper but his fear brings him back. But even at work, he's not appreciated. "Seems to me that there's an awful lot of mind reading going on around here", Albert tells his boss John Litel who seems to rely on his ideas to take credit for.

"Got any million dollar ideas you want to give away? Tell Mr. Wade!", girlfriend Joan Leslie tells him, constantly reminding him of the ideas he's constantly giving away. Every time Albert tries to stand up for himself, either his good nature takes over him or somebody tells him he's doing it all wrong. This poor guy can't win, and as much as I like him, I wanted to take him by the shoulders and shake him.

It's an O.K. comedy with little to recommend past the sitcom standards of the early 1950's and 60's. If I had a buddy like the overly chatty Alan Hale, I'd have to put in ear plugs because it seems like he never stops spouting unwanted advice. Then, there's his fiancée Joan Leslie who should be president of a club called "Future Nags of America".

John Litel is his seemingly decent boss who takes total advantage of Albert's passive nature. Sweet Dickie Moore (just taken from our world a few days before his 90th birthday) is very likable as a handicapped kid who pals around with Albert and really seems to be the only one who respects him. A scene with a beggar being told off by Albert as he hands the poor guy a wad of cash is amusing and very true to life. I've actually seen people do that!

The problem here is that the script is excruciatingly noisy and there isn't a moment to rest in the film's 70 minute running time. I really had to turn the volume down because it made me start to get a headache. It's an acceptable little programmer that probably offered some laughs as the bottom of the double bill, but really didn't do all that much for me. Even in the silliest (or noisiest) of the Leon Errol/Edgar Kennedy shorts, I wasn't as frazzled as I was when this one was over.

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Altruism at its zenith

Author: vandino1 from United States
12 February 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Eddie Albert plays a mild-mannered super-saint who is lowly clerk at a paper. He keeps coming up with great promotion ideas the editor Litel steals for his own advancement, but Albert puts up with it (to his fiery girlfriend's disgust--as played by Joan Leslie). Meanwhile, Albert helps everyone from Limpy the newsboy played by Dickie Moore, and Skipper played by Alan Hale Sr. It's all quite absurd--Albert going without money or food in order to help others--altruism at its almost Christ-like zenith. Then Albert loses his job, but he's such a dupe that it takes Leslie to threaten Litel in order for Albert to get his job back, and then to top it off, Albert immediately gets drafted. He's ecstatic: "Finally what I've been waiting for!" he chirps with a salute to the flag, and the film ends, thankfully. Just a piece of fluff to fill the bottom of a double-bill.

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8 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Interesting Period Piece

5/10
Author: beegeebright from United States
16 March 2005

Although not really a comedy, it is certainly watchable on a rainy day. It has a cast that is excellent, you can see two faces of stars you know from TV, Alan Hale (Sr. who looks exactly like his son who was on Gilligan's Island) and Eddie Albert who was on Green Acres (and his son has done a number of things). Plot is thin and so idealistic it could never be made today. I mean Dickie Moore (now married to Jane Powell) plays a a paper boy called "Limpy". Oh, and Alan Hale is actually called Skipper! Really it's a walking trivia contest answer. Too frustrating to be fully satisfying, pathos rampant really. John Litel supports well and Joan Leslie is pretty in her usual vacant way.

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0 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Did anyone read the script?

3/10
Author: MikeMagi from Baltimore MD
20 September 2013

The only word I can think of for this movie is "meaningless." Think of a Preston Sturgess yarn without Sturgess' wit or imagination. As a low-level classified ad salesman, Eddie Albert dreams of sailing the high seas in search of adventure with his friend or landlord or relative (not quite sure what he is,) the Skipper played by Alan Hale. He's in love with Joan Leslie as Mary, a wide-eyed, too-good-to-be-true coworker but she'll have to wait til he gets the travel bug out of his system. Meanwhile, Mary is ticked off that his brilliant promotional ideas to perk up the paper's circulation are being swiped by his alcoholic boss. Oh, there's also Dickie Moore as a crippled newsboy whose role would have been a lot livelier if he shouted "Shazam." Eddie Albert and Joan Leslie get extra points for playing this humorless claptrap as if they were actually enjoying it.

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