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Important Business (1944)

Approved | | Short, Comedy | 29 April 1944 (USA)

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Robert takes a train ride to Washington, DC, on "important business."



(original story and screen play)


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Joe Doakes finally receives the letter he's waiting for from Henry M. Maartleson at the Pentagon requesting a meeting, which they will arrange once he arrives in Washington DC on August 25th. All Joe's colleagues and family know about the meeting is that it is about an important top secret issue, which they infer could lead to a covert mission of national importance. Beyond the problem of getting a suitable train compartment for his trip to Washington, Joe ends up facing another problem: actually getting a hold of Maartleson by telephone as requested once he reaches the nation's capital. Not having a place to stay in Washington, there is no way for Maartleson to get back to Joe. By the time he leaves Washington, Joe comes to the realization of what a lowly cog he is in the national security scene, but that doesn't stop him from telling those in his hometown of Plainville otherwise. Written by Huggo

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Short | Comedy






Release Date:

29 April 1944 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Now I know how to get into politics
8 October 2000 | by (Memphis, TN) – See all my reviews

WARNING: These comments may reveal portions of the film plot.

Robert Benchley plays Joseph A. Doakes in this comedy short. Mr. Doakes has been called to Washington, DC on "Important Business." Unfortunately, the government man he is supposed to meet with doesn't seem to think that the "business" is all that important after all, and Mr. Doakes, after several humorous adventures, winds up back home without ever meeting with the man from Washington.

That doesn't stop Mr. Doakes from playing up this important meeting however. At the end of the short we discover that this "Important Business" has led Mr. Doakes right to a legislative seat in Washington.

The clever part of this film is that 1) You never find out who asked Mr. Doakes to Washington; 2) You never find out why he was called to Washington; 3) He never says what the meeting was going to be about; 4) You never see him do ANYTHING related to dealing with any government issues. And yet, he STILL becomes the focus of attention and eventually voted into office. So, now I know how to get into politics...if I ever want to.

The short is indeed that -- just 10 minutes. It's almost more of a comedy sketch than a film short. You'll enjoy this film. And if you don't, it will be over quick.

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