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The Treasurer's Report (1928)

Assistant Treasurer Benchley reports on the annual expenditures of the club for its home for "boys between the ages of 14", and other projects.


Thomas Chalmers (uncredited)


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Complete credited cast:
Robert Benchley ... Treasurer


A club's formal dinner has been completed, and there is a pause in the entertainment so that the assistant treasurer can give the report of the club's finances for the year. He is noticeably ill at ease, and after making his initial points, he explains that he is filling in for the treasurer, who is too ill to give the report himself. The assistant treasurer then proceeds to go over the club's recent income and expenses. Written by Snow Leopard

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A Comedy Satire New Era in Laugh Entertainment (Print Ad-San Jose News, ((San Jose Calif.)) 30 June 1928)


Comedy | Short


Did You Know?


Benchley had been performing this routine since 1922. See more »


Treasurer: I don't think it's generally known that most of our boys are between the age of fourteen.
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Crazy Credits

This is one of the earliest sound subjects, made only four months after THE JAZZ SINGER, by the then new Movietone sound process. (seen in the beginning credits below Thomas Chalmers' credit) See more »


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

User Reviews

Historically, a milestone-- and, incidentally, a funny film
12 December 2001 | by wmorrow59See all my reviews

If you haven't seen The Treasurer's Report, a bare outline of its content would suggest that it must surely rank among the most boring movies ever made. The setting is a small business banquet where after-dinner entertainment is under way as the film begins. A lady in an ugly hat is singing badly, accompanied by a pianist, while weary businessmen listen indifferently. She finishes to a smattering of applause. Next, the organization's assistant treasurer is introduced, and we are told that he will now deliver the year's financial report. He is a terribly nervous young man, and a very poor public speaker. He blusters and stammers his way through the report, struggling to rattle off figures and keep his composure; his attempts at humor fall flat, and at a key moment his tie comes untied. Eventually, he finishes on a resoundingly anticlimactic note, and the movie is over.

Sounds awful, right? Actually it's quite funny, because the young man is humorist Robert Benchley, and he is performing a routine he'd been perfecting for years on the musical comedy stage and in vaudeville. Watch carefully, and you'll note just how adeptly he stumbles through his routine, how skillfully he impersonates ineptitude. Benchley was very good at what he did: making a routine such as this one look effortlessly real is what acting is all about. His awkward, forced smile, oddly suggestive of Chaplin, will be painfully familiar to anyone who hates and fears public speaking. For some viewers his performance may stir traumatic memories of classroom recitations, but rest assured, the comic moments help to salve any lingering psychic wounds.

In addition to its value as comedy this film holds a claim as a genuine milestone in movie history. Although The Jazz Singer, released in October 1927, is often and erroneously cited as the first talking film, movie-makers had been experimenting with talkies for years (e.g. Edison's Nursery Favorites, made way back in 1913 but not widely distributed). The Jazz Singer itself was primarily silent with a few musical numbers and one brief dialog sequence. The Treasurer's Report, released in March of 1928, was among the first all-talking commercial short subject intended for general audiences-- or at least, those audiences with access to theaters capable of showing it. The first all-talking feature film The Lights of New York arrived shortly afterward, but Robert Benchley was ahead of the curve, with an unusual short comedy that is still enjoyable today, that is, for those willing to make allowances for its primitive technology.

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Release Date:

12 March 1928 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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