|Index||8 reviews in total|
This is one of the funniest, and most clever, short films from the
"classic" days I have seen thus far. I can see why it was nominated for
an Oscar. It sure gets the message across effectively. That message is:
Even if it irks you, pay the fine, and be done with it.
In this short, "Joe MacDokes" (George O'Hanlon) gets confused by a quick traffic light and drives erratically through an intersection. He is quickly pulled over by a policeman and given a ticket. Joe is furious. "Why that flat-footed, lame-brained, pin-headed....."
His wife "Alice," attempts to clam him down and tells him to just pay the fine. Alice, by the way, is a very attractive Phyllis Coates who played "Lois Lane" in the first televised season of "The Adventures Of Superman." Coates has longer hair here and looks tremendous.
Anyway, back to Joe. He goes before the judge and instead of paying the two-dollar fine, he screams, "I am not guilty!" He makes such a scene the judge fines him $100 for contempt! Now he wants a lawyer and he winds up in jail. During the trial, the lawyer is so inept that Joe gets 10 years in jail!! If he would just keep his mouth shut, none of this would have happened.
Fortunately, there is a happy ending and Joe did learn his lesson.
This was very entertaining, start-to-finish, and a good lesson for all of us.
Just watched this Vitaphone Joe McDoakes comedy short starring George O'Hanlon on YouTube. In this one, Joe runs a traffic sign that keeps gong "up and down" as he gets stopped by a traffic cop. It doesn't help Joe's case when he doesn't have his license or registration so he goes to court and then jail for contempt. I'll stop there and just say this was one of the more cleverly funny entries in the short comedy series that ran from the early '40s through the '50s. Many funny sight gags abound and wait till you see who the witnesses in the court are! If the voice of O'Hanlon sounds familiar, then you probably watched "The Jetsons" when you were a kid since he was the voice of George Jetson. Anyway, I highly recommend So You Think You're Not Guilty.
So You Think You're Not Guilty (1950)
*** (out of 4)
One of the better entries in the series has Joe McDoakes (George O'Hanlon) running a traffic light but instead of pleading guilty and paying two dollars, he decides to fight the charges, which just ends up costing him more fines and prison time. There were over sixty of these shorts made and they were certainly hit and miss but this here is one of the better ones. The entire situation is handled very well by director Bare who also wrote the screenplay, which has plenty of nice twists and turns throughout the nine minute running time. There are countless highlight but the best one is a scene where McDoakes is forced to break out of jail, which of course just gets him into more trouble. There's several scenes that perfectly spoof the gangster and courtroom drama films out at the time as well.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
. . . is the basic premise of SO YOU THINK YOU'RE NOT GUILTY. The U.S. justice system has been carefully crafted as yet another tax on ordinary people. Whenever your local government is running low on funds, all they have to do is booby-trap such things as traffic signals, and sit back to rake in the Moolah. It's virtually impossible to prove your "innocence" in an American court UNLESS you're fabulously wealthy, as George O'Hanlon's "Ordinary Joe" character finds out here. Furthermore, if you point out government's nefarious money-making plot to the "authorities," they'll multiply your fine one-hundred fold, toss you into jail, and kill you if you're too vociferous. Joe barely escapes here with his life, after being bankrupted and incarcerated for a year. This exact same thing happened to my uncle near a truck factory up North where he worked years ago. The city was failing, so they rigged a traffic light to cycle from green directly to red (without the customary yellow to mark a transition). Sure enough, there was a cop sitting a few yards away. Was he directing traffic through this obviously dangerous intersection? Heck, no! He was pulling over one plant worker after another for running the red light! My uncle was sharp enough to report this accidentally-on-purpose traffic light "malfunction" to the city's DPW immediately. With the record of his call, he was probably the only victim of this scam to contest the ticket in court (he won, since the maleficent rogue officer didn't dare show up at the hearing). Unlike Joe McDoakes here, my uncle escaped prison, but his pay was docked for being late because of the bogus (if not life-threatening) traffic stop. SO YOU THINK YOU'RE NOT GUILTY exposed the total corruption of the American legal system, as of 1950. It's gotten at least ten times worse these 64 years later!
I just watched this on cable. It is part of the Turner Classic Movies
(TCM) On Demand series that is free with my digital cable service. I'm
looking forward to more in the series.
Speaking of the "So You ..." series: According to IMDb.com, George O'Hanlon starred as Joe McDoakes in about 65 of these shorts from 1942 to 1956. Titles included:
"So You Want to Keep Your Hair" "So You Want to Be a Gladiator" "So You Think the Grass is Greener" "So You're Wife Wants to Work"
You get the idea.
By the way, I recognized Phyllis Coates of Lois Lane fame right away (she appeared in 17 or so of these) but I didn't recognize the George O'Hanlon name. However, after listening to him for awhile I realized where I had heard the voice: GEORGE JETSON!
I can't say I found this particularly amusing since the Joe McDoakes
character is extremely irritating and foolish to resist paying the $2
and going free by putting up protests until he lands in jail on a
ten-year sentence. GEORGE O'HANLON is Joe in this series that was
popular during the '50s.
It's a cliché ridden script--done much more briskly by Edward Arnold and Victor Moore in MGM's "Ziegfeld Follies of 1946" wherein Moore is the stubborn man who ends up in jail for not paying the two dollars, in a skit called "Pay the Two Dollars!"
It's moderately amusing but not hilarious, as intended. DOUGLAS FOWLEY (best remembered as the over-excited director in SINGIN' IN THE RAIN), has an uncredited bit.
Too many of the gags, built around one theme, fall flat.
IN MUCH THE same manner as a snowball's rolling down the proverbial
hill will grow and continue to do so, this story begin in a seemingly
insignificant incident. It does so and before one realizes it grows
into a giant, incontrollable nightmare.
WE FOUND THIS installment of the MC DOAKES Saga to be particularly relevant today; that being some 65+ years later. Although so many things in life change and disappear into near oblivion, others seem to maintain s certain of immortality of their own. One of these is the Traffic Ticket.
OUR STORY TODAY is quite simple in its basic premise and its construction. Simply stated: Mc Doakes get cited by foot patrolman, Officer Flannigan (Don C. Harvey). Joe argues that the traffic signal in question was defective (it was, we saw it-right, Schultz?). No one at any level of local municipal government ever sees it his way; not the cops, not the magistrate in Traffic Court, not the Judge or even the Jury at his self requested trial.
FANTASTICALLY, HE WINDS up in the "Big House". This gives the production team to do a little spoofing of the old Prison Film genre as well as to utilize some stock footage from the WB vaults.
ONE REFRESHING ASPECT of this installment of the series was the street scenes. A bright Southern California beat down on the Warner Brothers' Studio's city street set; where the use of several other automobiles gave a real urban look and made the short appear somehow more expensive.
ONCE AGAIN WE are treated to the presence of a fine group of supporting players. Forming sort of a MC DOAKES repertory company are: Fred Kelsey, Phyllis Coates (as Alice Mc Doakes), Jack Mower, Paul Panzer, Ralph J. Sanford and Willard Waterman.
DARE WE REFER back to the second paragraph before we say "Bye-bye?" We stated that there is probably more identifiable with the people today than most any other MC DOAKES outings. Simply stated, the Traffic ticket (Moving violation or parking) is one thing in life that will always be there. Like the proverbial "Death and Taxes", it is the first thing that the Good Citizen thinks about when he hears the word "POLICE!"
I just saw this short on TCM. It's a fun short, but nothing terribly
exciting or hilarious. It is filled with parodied clichés of
lawyer/crime movies almost to the point of exhaustion. Some sight and
physical comedic gags do not fit well, and it comes with the type of
humor you would expect from a Looney Toon if it were live-humans
instead of animated critters.
Our hero pleads "not guilty" until he finds himself facing 10 years in prison. It is at this point, around the 8 minute marker, that this little short finally feels like its taking off the ground but by the time you end your first laugh, our hero is ducking behind the big 8 Ball and "The End" is scribbled across the screen.
Worth watching if only for the sheer enjoyment of it being a short, a long lost cinematic tradition in an age when so many pop-tart films would be served in an 10 minute format.
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|