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The Meanest Man in the World (1943)

 -  Comedy  -  12 February 1943 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 136 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 6 critic

Compassionate small-town lawyer Richard Clarke moves to New York City to seek his fortune, but is unsuccessful until he takes a friend's advice and tries to convince the world he's a ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Meanest Man in the World (1943)

The Meanest Man in the World (1943) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Richard Clarke
...
Janie Brown
...
Shufro
...
Frederick P. Leggitt
Matt Briggs ...
Arthur Brown
Anne Revere ...
Kitty Crockett
Margaret Seddon ...
Mrs. Frances H. Leggitt
Helene Reynolds ...
Wife (Park Ave. Neighbor)
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Storyline

Compassionate small-town lawyer Richard Clarke moves to New York City to seek his fortune, but is unsuccessful until he takes a friend's advice and tries to convince the world he's a ruthless heel. Suddenly he's the most popular lawyer in town -- but he could lose his fiancée. Written by Kevin Ackley <kackley1@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

12 February 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Meanest Man in the World  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was edited down to one of the shortest "A" features of the Forties, with a running time of merely 57 minutes. According to The Motion Picture Herald Production Digest, the movie's brief duration caused booking problems. See more »

Connections

Version of The Meanest Man in the World (1923) See more »

Soundtracks

Swanee River
(uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
heard when Jack Benny is in blackface
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User Reviews

He's mean but doesn't mean it
27 May 2002 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

"The Meanest Man in the World" has a misleading title ... at least for audiences here in Britain where, if a person is called "mean", it means that he's a cheapskate. When I saw that this film starred Jack Benny (who usually played cheapskates), I assumed that the title referred to his legendary tightwad antics. I was wrong. In "The Meanest Man in the World" (based on a play by George M. Cohan), Jack Benny plays a nice-guy lawyer who's broke all the time because he hasn't any clients. When he picks up the phone in his law office to make a call, the Accounts department of the phone company is on the other end to turn off his service for non-payment.

This movie raises an interesting point: namely, that nice people are often much less successful than S.O.B. types. When nice-guy Benny decides to pretend to be a meanie, his law practice starts getting more clients. But in order to become a real success, Benny will have to become a real meanie. Is it worth it?

This movie is basically a character study. It isn't a flat-out comedy like most of Benny's starring films, so don't expect too many laughs. Eddie Anderson ("Rochester") plays Benny's factotum assistant here, but their relationship here isn't quite like Rochester's relationship with "Mister Benny" in their radio show.

There's one funny gag. Benny's one-man legal practice is in an office building full of law firms. When an ambulance drives past the building with its siren blaring, Benny hands his business card to Rochester and orders him to follow that ambulance. As Rochester rushes out into the hallway, all the doors of all the law offices open, and all the lawyers come running out with their own business cards!

Anne Revere (a talented actress whom I never liked, somehow) is wasted here in a poor role. The romance between Jack Benny and Priscilla Lane isn't believable, especially as Lane is far too young for him. "The Meanest Man in the World" was a popular stage play, but this film version has very little to recommend it. I'll rate this movie 3 points out of 10, only because I'm a Jack Benny fan.


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