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That Inferior Feeling (1940)

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Joe Doakes, like most men, is unable to cope with personal emergencies or those in a position of authority (real or imagined).





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Complete credited cast:
... Joseph H. 'Joe' Doakes


Joe Doakes is giving his latest lecture, this one directed to and about men who often have an inferiority complex, which in turn makes them look more inferior than they really are. That inferiority can take many forms. A man can feel inferior to people of authority, such as a minister performing his wedding ceremony, or a police officer who would be willing to provide directions if asked. A man can feel inferior even to people not in authoritative positions, such as a tailor, when the tailor is measuring the man or trying to sell him a white suit he doesn't want. A man can even feel inferior through inanimate objects, such as wearing that white suit he didn't want to buy. Such inferiority can make a man look guilty of doing something, even something illegal, when in truth he is totally innocent. Written by Huggo

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Comedy | Short





Release Date:

20 January 1940 (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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Did You Know?


Featured in MGM Parade: Episode #1.15 (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

I've lost that inferior feeling, now it's gone, gone, gone...
1 July 2004 | by See all my reviews

You may be curious just what my credentials are to be writing a review here. While I ponder that, I will offer my comments on this feature. I saw it, along with a few other Benchley shorts, at the Film Forum in NYC a few years back. Of the roughly ten or twelve I saw, this was my favorite, and so I rate it a "ten" here. That is not to suggest that you should give up your plan to watch "The Godfather" in favor of it, but merely that, if you had to kill nine minutes waiting for the main feature to start, watching this would be at least as pleasant a way to pass the time as watching a typical preview or Coke ad. It comprises Benchley giving a lecture on the baseless but persistent feeling of inferiority that afflicts many of us. We see a typical citizen in a number of quotidian situations that he ought to be able to deal with while stifling a yawn and looking at a crossword puzzle, but that somehow make him almost too anxious to cope. Benchley illustrates the problem with these examples and offers some solid general advice on how to fight it, and though it was perhaps meant to be merely humorous, I for one found it quite helpful.

Perhaps the one-to-ten scale is too much latitude to grant an amateur like me with which to pass judgment on the labors of serious and talented professionals, and it would be safer to let me work with, say, three-to-eight. I won't argue with that, but this is the system that exists, and if you feel strongly enough about it, perhaps you could petition IMDb to institute a change and rein in people like me. In fact, I think will start the ball rolling myself.

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