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Film / A Night at the Movies

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A Night at the Movies is a 1937 short film (10 minutes) directed by Roy Rowland.

It stars and was written by Robert Benchley, a humorist who had a very successful run in the 1930s as a star of comedy short films. In this one Benchley and his wife want to go out and see a movie. After being unable to find any movie that at least one of them hasn't seen, they wind up going out to one that both of them have seen. Comic misadventures ensue at the movie theater, as the Benchleys struggle with the age-old problem of moving down a row of seats, a very large man sits in front of Robert, and a creepy boy stares daggers at him for some reason.

A major example of Aluminum Christmas Trees, showing a fancy movie palace that was giving a car away, usherettes in flattering uniforms, live entertainment between shows, and other artifacts of a bygone era.

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Tropes:

  • Aside Glance: Benchley's wife shoots a frustrated look at the camera as Benchley futzes around with the movie tickets, the drawing tickets, and the valet ticket for their car.
  • Celebrity Paradox: The lady who sells Benchley his tickets is portrayed by an actress named Gwen Lee. Right after this Benchley walks past a poster for a Real Life movie called My Dear Miss Aldrich which featured Gwen Lee.
  • Creepy Child: The weird little boy who stares daggers at Benchley.
  • Death Glare: For no earthly reason a little boy sitting next to Benchley fixes him with a bloodcurdling Death Glare. An unnerved Benchley eventually moves to a different seat.
  • Gilligan Cut: The wife rejects the husband's choice, saying "No no no, we've both seen Souls on the Tandem." Cut to the two of them at the theater under the Souls on the Tandem marquee.
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  • No Name Given: No names for either the husband or the wife.
  • Your Other Left: Benchley bumbles his way around the movie theater, going left when the usherette says right and right when she says left. Finally he sheepishly says "Guess I got out on the wrong side of the bed this morning."
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