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Life in Sometown, U.S.A. (1938)

 -  Short  -  26 February 1938 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 38 users  
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A satirical visualization of strange and forgotten, but (at that time) nevertheless still existing laws in the U.S.A..



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Complete credited cast:
Carey Wilson ...
Himself - Narrator (voice)


In Sometown, U.S.A. - which is a composite of all towns in the country - Judge Wiley hears the case of little Johnny Jones who accidentally breaks the window of the wealthiest woman in town, Mrs. Barber, with an errant baseball. Chief of Police Hanlon suggests to the judge that he fine Johnny the cost of the replacement window - $1.95 - and let that be that. The judge agrees, but Johnny, who is from the "wrong side of the tracks", doesn't even have that amount, so the Chief pays the fine for him. Incensed by the Chief's actions, Mrs. Barber, who rallies all the other wealthy women of the town, petitions to the Mayor and City Council to have the Chief dismissed, citing that he does not uphold the law as he should. Believing the Chief in the right, Henry Barber, Mrs. Barber's henpecked husband who has never stood up to his wife, and their daughter, Patricia Barber, hatch a plan with the Chief to show Mrs. Barber and her followers the error in their thinking, which shows little common ... Written by Huggo

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Release Date:

26 February 1938 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Poorly Done Short
23 April 2012 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Life in Sometown, U.S.A. (1938)

* 1/2 (out of 4)

Buster Keaton directed this short, which has a couple rich women going into court and being disgraced when a cop pays the $2 fine for a poor kid who broke her window. The judge decides to prove a point that there are many laws on the books that they could charge people with but don't. Over the next few days the rich people are shown what they do that is actually against the law. Carey Wilson does the narration for this short but it really doesn't matter because the end result is quite poor and ranks among the worst shorts I've seen from MGM. This thing isn't horrible but at the same time the movie drags at such a slow pace that its 10-minute running time seems twice that. The biggest problem is that the stories simply aren't that interesting. Most of these Wilson shorts (or even Pete Smith) move at a nice pace and contain some nice information but that's simply not the case here. The stories about all these strange laws are mildly interesting but Keaton simply doesn't add any entertainment to them.

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