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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."


Will Jason


Robert Benchley (original story and screen play)


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Complete credited cast:
Robert Benchley ... Joseph A. Doakes


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Comedy








Release Date:

29 April 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Important Business See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Benchley Comedy....I Think
4 September 2010 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Important Business (1944)

** (out of 4)

Joe Doakes (Robert Benchley) receives a letter from Washington, D.C. for him to come out and meet a government official so Doakes begins telling everyone that they finally want to learn what he knows. Doakes boards a train for this important business but when he arrives there he realizes he isn't going to be meeting anyone. I've shared my opinion of Benchley during reviews for many of his shorts but here is yet another that I didn't find funny. Once again it really does seem as if there wasn't even an attempt to make this thing funny because nothing funny happens. You'd think once he arrives in Washington D.C. that something would happen but instead he just sits by a phone and waits for someone to call. Nothing funny there, at least to me. Early on he simply sits around telling people that he's going to Washington. Again, I'm guessing this was meant to be funny but I didn't crack a smile. This is far from Benchley's worst short but it's pretty bland from start to finish.

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