Love Thy Neighbor


1h 22m 1940

Brief Synopsis

Jack Benny (Himself) is preparing his New Year's Eve radio broadcast but takes time out to take his valet Rochester (Eddie Anderson) to meet his girlfriend Josephine (Theresa) arriving on a steamer. Fred Allen (Himself) and his sister Barbara (Verree Teasdale) are also enroute to the dock to meet Barbara's daughter Mary (Mary Martin), returning from a personal appearance tour in South America. Josephine is her maid. Their cars get involved in an accident and, in a bumping contest, Fred reduces Jack's old Maxwell to junk, and is taken to jail. Mary loses her dress in an accident and Jack offers to get her another one, but winds up being arrested for stealing. Barbara tells Mary that Fred is a nervous wreck because of Jack's continual slander of him on Jack's radio program. Jack hires the Merry Macs (Joe McMichael, Judd McMichael, Ted McMichael, Helen Carroll) away from Fred and Fred decides to go to Miami for a rest. Jack decides to open his radio program from Miami. They meet, have another brawl, and end up in jail again. The two are in a motorboat accident where both are knocked unconscious and Mary, in an effort to end the feud, tells Fred that Jack saved his life. They have dinner together at Fred's apartment and Rochester, whom Fred has hired away from Jack, appears and the feud is on again.

Film Details

Release Date
Dec 27, 1940
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 18 Dec 1940
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 22m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Synopsis

Famous feuding radio comedians Jack Benny and Fred Allen end up in adjoining jail cells on New Year's Eve, 1940, after Allen totals Benny's car. Allen's fanatical vengeance causes his niece Mary to think that he is going mad, so she visits Benny at his office, intending to end the feud. At the office, however, actress Virginia Astor is late for an audition, so Mary assumes her name and, because Benny has never met her, is able to audition. Benny gives Mary the lead in his show, and she goes to Miami for the show's premiere. There, Allen shows up for a rest cure, but when he finds Benny in the same hotel, he chases him with a rifle in a boat. When Allen sees Mary in Benny's boat, he faints and the boats collide, knocking Benny unconscious. After the men regain consciousness, Mary convinces Allen that Benny saved his life, and they are reconciled. Benny later learns, however, that Allen hired Benny's valet, Rochester, whom he had fired when he caught Rochester visiting his girl friend Josephine, Allen's servant, and accused him of being a spy. Benny then accuses Mary of becoming involved with him to make him look foolish, and fires her from the show. Allen then schemes to acquire Rochester's one percent stock in the show and makes a deal with Harrington, the show's producer, whereby Harrington can join the cast if Allen can control the show. Mary, however, swears her love to Benny and acquires Rochester's one percent from Josephine. Until she marries, however, Allen is legally in charge of her finances. To save the show, Benny and Mary decide to marry during intermission, but Allen foils the plan by planting the real Virginia Astor in Benny's shower. When Virginia interrupts the wedding in a bath towel, Mary leaves, but Benny finds Allen's check to Virginia and explains all to Mary. Years later, Mary and her twin boys, who are the spitting image of Allen and Benny, meet Josephine in the park with her baby, who is an infant version of Rochester.

Film Details

Release Date
Dec 27, 1940
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 18 Dec 1940
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 22m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to reviews and to studio press releases, this picture was inspired by an actual four-year feud between radio show hosts Jack Benny and Fred Allen. The feud was allegedly caused by a crack that Allen made about Benny's violin playing. In the opening credits of the film, the titles for Benny and Allen become animated and fight each other for top billing. Scriptwriters William Morrow and Edmund Beloin were writers for Benny's radio program. The speedboat sequences were shot off the coast of Santa Catalina, CA.