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The Powers of Congress (1947)

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Uploaded on Aug 6, 2010

This film marks Coronet's earliest excursion into surrealism. It opens in the living room of "Charles Bentley," whose checked suit and zebra-striped tie clash maddeningly with the room's bulls-eye wallpaper pattern, and give some hint of the strange sights to come. "Congress this! Congress that!" Bentley snorts as he throws down his newspaper. "I've got more things to think about than Congress!" He stomps down to the post office to mail his tax return, and continues his tirade for the benefit of his strange-looking friend, "Williams." "What's Congress ever given me except a lot of trouble?" Bentley grunts. "You know what I think? I think we'd be better off if there WASN'T any Congress!"
CUs of soap bubbles suddenly appear as Bentley is catapulted into a black void nightmare world where all the sets are built on German Expressionist angles and everyone's voice has an echo. "LOTS of things are different without the powers of Congress!" cackles Williams, who has been transformed (thanks to low-angle lighting) into a kind of omnipresent demon. "YOU'LL see! Hee hee hee hee...." Bentley quickly discovers that, without Congress, his money is worthless, his court system is in ruins, and, worst of all, Social Security is bankrupt. "You'll have to look out for yourself when you lose your job!" Williams crows. Next, Bentley's wife arrives, sobbing that without Congress "our FHA loan was no good" and that now the Bentley's have been thrown out on the street!

Thankfully, the soap bubbles reappear and Bentley wakes up back is his nightmare-inducing living room. It was all a dream! "NOW I know what to put in my speech for the club!" he chuckles, and we leave him with a better attitude and a Social Security system that his beloved Congress would eventually leverage into bankruptcy anyway.

Producer: Coronet Instructional Films

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