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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.
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.
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 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.
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