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The Witness (1942)

 -  Short | Comedy  -  20 March 1942 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 22 users  
Reviews: 3 user

With committees arising like weeds to investigate anyone for anything, Mr. Doakes fantasizes how he would handle his inquisitors if ever summoned as the subject of a hearing.


(as Leslie Roush)
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Cast overview:
Robert Benchley ...


As Joe Doakes is reading the newspaper, he begins to talk to himself. Questioned by his wife, he explains that he is disturbed by the paper's account of the ways that a government investigative committee has been interrogating its witnesses. Joe then nods off, and imagines that he is being questioned by the committee. He envisages how satisfying it would be to turn the tables on the investigators. Written by Snow Leopard

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Short | Comedy





Release Date:

20 March 1942 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Investigator: Perhaps you'd rather we conducted this investigation in baby talk.
Joe Doakes: If it will make it any easier for you, you go straight ahead.
See more »


Edited into Robert Benchley and the Knights of the Algonquin (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

Fair Short
1 May 2011 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Witness, The (1941)

** (out of 4)

Joe Doakes (Robert Benchley) is reading in the newspaper about a group of investigator who use their toughness to get people to talk and Joe explains that if he was ever in that position he'd fight back and teach them who's boss. Joe has a couple fantasies about fighting back against these people but soon enough he's really on the spot. In this Paramount short Benchley is pretty much playing a Walter Mitty type role and he's pretty good in it but it's just a shame that his screenplay wasn't a tad bit better. The film runs under 9-minutes so there's not too much story to speak of but what we do get are a couple fantasy sequences where Joe acts tough as nails but of course you know he's going to crack under pressure once the real thing comes. The problem is that the first portion of the film is pretty bland as his wife screams at him for carrying on conversations on his own. This here isn't funny. It's also not any funnier once we get to the fantasy scenes because the one-liners and come backs simply aren't that strong. Benchley's performance helps keep the film moving but there's just so much he can do and when the material isn't up to par then the jokes just don't work.

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