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The Meanest Man in the World (1943)

Approved | | Comedy | 12 February 1943 (USA)
Compassionate small-town lawyer Richard Clarke moves to New York City to seek his fortune, but is unsuccessful until he takes a friend's advice and tries to convince the world he's a ... See full summary »


Sidney Lanfield


George Seaton (screenplay), Allan House (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview:
Jack Benny ... Richard Clarke
Priscilla Lane ... Janie Brown
Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson ... Shufro
Edmund Gwenn ... Frederick P. Leggitt
Matt Briggs ... Arthur Brown
Anne Revere ... Kitty Crockett
Margaret Seddon Margaret Seddon ... Mrs. Frances H. Leggitt
Helene Reynolds ... Wife (Park Ave. Neighbor)


Compassionate small-town lawyer Richard Clarke moves to New York City to seek his fortune, but is unsuccessful until he takes a friend's advice and tries to convince the world he's a ruthless heel. Suddenly he's the most popular lawyer in town -- but he could lose his fiancée. Written by Kevin Ackley <kackley1@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Meet the world's biggest heel in the screen's most hiss-terical show! See more »




Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

12 February 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El hombre más malo del mundo See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Having directed Jack Benny's finest screen performance in To Be or Not to Be (1942), the legendary Ernst Lubitsch oversaw retakes of this later film between early November and November 10, 1942. Writer Morrie Ryskind, who had worked on the early stages of the screenplay, was brought back to create new dialogue for the retakes. Neither contributor received an opening credit. See more »


Version of The Meanest Man in the World (1923) See more »


William Tell Overture
Written by Gioachino Rossini
heard when lawyers chase an ambulance
See more »

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User Reviews

Love Jack Benny, love Priscilla Lane. BUT...
19 August 2015 | by dstanwyckSee all my reviews

As I stated, I love Jack Benny. One of those comedians who warms my heart just upon sight. Eve Arden (who would have been good in the Anne Revere part) is another example of that kind of persona whose mere presence makes me happy. Unlike the character he portrays in some movies and certainly on his TV shows, he was a very generous man with friends and strangers. No surprise there. He exudes that which makes his stinginess even more funny. This picture, with a lot of false starts and ending up nowhere, went off on the wrong track. Priscilla Lane was actually a nifty actress in so many of her films, almost surprisingly so. In addition, she is about as adorable as they come. (Benny often has some of the most appealing actresses to accompany him on his sprees.) Rochester, too, is a delight. Could have done without the black-face routine, but it was 1943 and awareness of this sort outrage was not yet in our craws. It did not go as far or as interestingly as it might have but what could have remedied it, I wouldn't know where to begin. "The Horn Blows at Midnight" is often claimed by Benny to be a failure and brought down his movie career. My impression is that it is more delightful than most of his forays into filmdom. Then of course he is in the utter classic "To Be or Not To Be". Nothing wrong with that one. And with him. And with Lane. It's just the film which isn't especially good. But so what? It has Jack Benny,

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