17 July 2002 | Ron Oliver
Charming Little Comedy
There's a MAN WANTED to become private secretary for a powerful female editor. Once found, will they be able to keep their minds strictly on business?
Here is another example of a wonderful pre-Code comedy from Warner Brothers which has slipped under the radar and is undeservedly obsolete. The casting, acting, script & production values are all first rate. The humor is grownup & intelligent, and does not treat its viewers like insensitive Neanderthals.
Scintillating & sly, Kay Francis is perfect in the role of a worldly woman with a wide-open marriage. Her frankness & grace in dealing with her husband's casual adulteries is most fetching - as well as making her character very human. As beautiful as she was talented, it is a shame that this lovely lady no longer receives the recognition she's due.
Matching her every step of the way, David Manners exudes gentle masculinity as her new office employee. Slowly falling in love, he must carefully control himself & not overstep the bounds of propriety. Mr. Manners gives another in a series of excellent performances. Quiet & unassuming, he could always be counted on for a solid contribution to any film. He left Hollywood for a more private life in 1936, never to return to movies, which probably accounts for his near anonymity today. (He died in 1998, at the age of 97.)
Giving very firm support are Una Merkel as Manners' fierce, funny little fiancée; and Andy Devine as his rough edged, good natured roommate.
Elizabeth Patterson makes the most of her small role as Miss Francis' original, somewhat eccentric, secretary; Edward Van Sloan (DRACULA's Van Helsing) has only a few moments as a store manager who knows what it takes to sell rowing machines to the ladies.
Although he's still listed in the credits, the scenes involving British character actor Robert Greig have been deleted. Pity...