George Washington Slept Here

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George Washington Slept Here
Movie poster
Directed by William Keighley
Produced by Jerry Wald
Written by Play:
Moss Hart
George S. Kaufman
Everett Freeman
Starring Jack Benny
Ann Sheridan
Music by Adolph Deutsch
Cinematography Ernest Haller
Edited by Ralph Dawson
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • November 28, 1942 (1942-11-28)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1.3 million (US rentals)[1]

George Washington Slept Here is a 1942 comedy film starring Jack Benny and Ann Sheridan.[2][3] It was based on the 1940 play of the same name by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, adapted by Everett Freeman, and was directed by William Keighley. The film also starred Hattie McDaniel, the first black woman to ever win an Academy Award.

Warner Archives released the movie on DVD in November 2013.


Manhattanite Connie Fuller (Ann Sheridan) secretly acquires a dilapidated house in rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania, without her husband Bill's (Jack Benny) knowledge. The couple were forced out of their New York City apartment after their dog damaged the carpets. The house Connie buys is believed to have served as George Washington's temporary home during the Revolutionary War. Connie takes Bill on a tour of the countryside including the house, hoping that Bill will fall in love with it. Her plan to surprise him with the news that they own the house is frustrated when he announces that he hates it. Bill only sees the poor condition of the house, and its poor location for commuting into the city. Having nowhere else to live, they move into the house anyway. Connie's sister Madge (Joyce Reynolds) moves with them. They hire Mr. Kimber (Percy Kilbride) to help with the renovations. They uncover evidence that it was not Washington who had slept there, but Benedict Arnold. Connie's spoiled nephew Raymond (Douglas Croft) also moves in during the summer. Connie's wealthy uncle Stanley (Charles Coburn) plans to visit also.

One rainy day, married actors Rena Leslie (Lee Patrick) and Clayton Evans (John Emery) seek shelter from the downpour. Madge falls in love with Clayton and plans to run away with him, abandoning Rena. Bill suspects Connie of infidelity with local antiques dealer Jeff Douglas (Harvey Stephens), and confronts her. Connie explains that Jeff helped her determine that they own a well and an access road - facilities that their unfriendly neighbor Prescott (Charles Dingle) claims as his.

Prescott uses the poor state of the Fullers' house to engineer a foreclosure against them, intending to buy their forfeited property at auction afterward. The Fullers desperately seek funds to finish the renovations and stave off the foreclosure. They ask Stanley to finance them, but he reveals that he has been secretly bankrupt since the Depression in 1929. Instead, he helps them with their lawful claim to the well and service road. Everything changes for the better when the Fullers' dog digs up a letter on the property, written by George Washington. The valuable historical find is worth enough money for the couple to complete the renovations.[4]

(NOTE: In the original stage production, it was the husband, not the wife, who bought the property. The film reversed this so as to play into Benny's established persona of being a miser.)


Awards and honors[edit]

George Washington Slept Here was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction for Max Parker, Mark-Lee Kirk and Casey Roberts.[5]

Adaptations to other media[edit]

George Washington Slept Here was adapted as a half-hour radio play on the November 8, 1943 broadcast of The Screen Guild Theater, with Carole Landis and Jack Carson. It was also presented on the November 23, 1947 broadcast of the Ford Theatre with Karl Swenson and Claudia Morgan.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "101 Pix Gross in Millions" Variety 6 Jan 1943 p 58
  2. ^ Variety film review; September 23, 1942, page 8.
  3. ^ Harrison's Reports film review; September 19, 1942, page 152.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "NY Times: George Washington Slept Here". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 

This movie was referenced in the John Wayne film "Operation Pacific" when two American submarines traded movies at sea.

External links[edit]