The Horn Blows at Midnight

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Today at 2pm Eastern, TCM is screening a bit of show business history. The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945) was Jack Benny’s last feature film, and was so legendarily bad that Benny immortalized it as such in his own comedy routines for years. Now’s a rare chance to evaluate for yourself whether or not it deserves that reputation. A master of radio, television and vaudeville, Benny’s movie career, which began in 1930 can at best be called sort of so-so. I thought he was woefully miscast in Charley’s Aunt (1941) and too overbearing in George Washington Slept Here (1942), although those movies fared alright in their day. And he’s pretty damn perfect in To Be or Not To Be (1942). All in all, he was a fine comedy star, but for whatever reason, he never had the box office of the nearest person he can be compared to, Bob Hope. He was successful enough in other arenas, so he just stopped making films. And he continued to profit from The Horn Blows at Midnight by making fun of it for the rest of his life. But look! The poster tells us it’s “Very Funny!”

 

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