Charley’s Aunt (1941)

Charley’s Auntcharley's aunt poster
Directed by Archie Mayo
Written by George Seaton from a play by Brandon Thomas
1941/USA
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
First viewing?/Netflix rental

 

Babbs Babberley: I’m Charley’s nut from Brazil where the aunts come from.

Jack Benny’s English accent is ludicrous but that doesn’t stop him from being funny in this take on the old stage play.

The setting is 19th Century Oxford.  Charley Wickham and Jack Chesney are in love and need a chaperon for meeting their beloveds.  They had been counting on Charley’s aunt Donna Lucia from Brazil to do this duty.  When Lucia doesn’t show up, they blackmail Babbs Babberly (Benny), who already has the clothes from his role in a campus play, to take over.  Jack’s father Sir Francis (Laird Cregar) is broke and starts courting the “lady”, who is said to be worth millions.  Old Stephen Spettigue (Edmund Gwenn) isn’t far behind. Finally a client of Babbs’s father (Kay Francis) appears, and it looks like the jig is up.  With Anne Baxter as one of the young ladies.

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This isn’t hilarious or anything but it is amusing and a pleasant way to spend 80 minutes. Jack Benny does quite well at a role that is outside his general miserly persona.

Promo – Jack Benny talking about Charley’s Aunt with Tyrone Power and Randolph Scott, who briefly plug their parts in A Yank in the RAF and Belle Starr

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