The Meanest Man In The World (1943)

the meanest man in the world 1943

Jack is a lawyer and Rochester is his man Shufro.  Lots of gags and laughs along the way. It’s an hour of fun. At the very end look for Tor Johnson with a full head of hair as a wrestler who acts as Jack’s bodyguard.

Richard Clarke (Jack Benny) with the help of Shufro (Eddie “Rochester” Anderson) opens a law office in the small town of Pottsville. He’s engaged to Janie Brown (Priscilla Lane). Her father doesn’t approve.

Janie and her Dad visit the office. When they leave a man crashes into his parked car. Richard takes the case. In court it looks like Richard is a winner. While the jury is looking at a picture of the incident the man who caused it tells Richard that he can’t afford to pay a fine let alone any damages. Then he shows Richard his wife and lots of kids. Richard has a soft heart and refuses to pursue the case.

Back in his office Mr.Brown is waiting. He’s happy and tells Richard he should move to New York and open an office. So he does and takes Shufro with him.. Now it’s four months later. All he has are bills. No clients and an unpaid secretary.

Janie and her father come to town. Richard has been lying about being successful. He cashes in an insurance policy so he can rent a Park Avenue apartment to fool them. It doesn’t go exactly as planned but Shufro saves the day and the scam works. Janie and her father leave thinking Richard is doing just fine. (In 1943 renting a Park Avenue apartment was four hundred-fifty dollars a month.)

Shufro says he needs to be mean in order to succeed. Richard agrees and starts on a campaign to be mean. He sees a young boy eating a large sucker and steals it from him. His picture is taken and printed in the paper with the headline stating the meanest man in the world steals candy from a baby.

That gets him a five thousand dollar a year retainer from Frederick P.Leggitt (Edmund Gwenn). He wants Richard to evict his brother’s seventy year old widow from a building he wants to tear down. A picture is taken of Richard pointing a finger at the old lady sitting on a chair outside on the sidewalk and that makes the paper too. Then a rumor starts that the woman committed suicide. Richard is actually putting her up in his apartment.

Janie and her father come to New York to get ready for the wedding. Janie sees the picture in the paper and a whole host of misunderstandings begin. The movie is predictable but it’s meant to be light entertainment and that’s exactly what it is.


About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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