Charley's (Big-Hearted) Aunt (1940)

TV-G   |    |  Comedy

Charley's (Big-Hearted) Aunt (1940) Poster

Taking inspiration from a well-known Victorian play, a modern-day prankster poses as a wealthy woman in a ploy to prevent him and his friends from being expelled from college.



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11 September 2005 | Spondonman
| "Aunts In Their Paunts"
I've never been a drag fan, I enjoyed Danny La Rue's turns on the Good Old Days on TV when I was a kid for the songs I suppose, but the humour and enjoyment in cross-dressing has always been a mystery to me. Ergo I don't have many such films in my collection. Having said that Arthur Askey looked pretty convincing as an old and rather plain Auntie, more so than either he or Richard Murdoch looked as "young" Oxford students. Although Graham Moffat almost got away with it and Moore Marriott as the venerable caretaker certainly did!

As a result of heinous crimes against the University that would get them admiring kudos and Awards nowadays Askey/Murdoch/Moffat face expulsion. To escape this Askey pretends his rich Auntie is keen to finance an archaeological expedition to Egypt (a subject very close to the headmaster's heart) but later has to impersonate her. Farcical confusion is the result of the deception. Watch out for that 5,000 year old vase!

A good cast with some good lines, good situations; shame that Wally Patch only showed in the first reel; I almost felt sorry for schoolmaster Felix Aylmer floundering in the Isis; Phyllis Calvert never looked more decorative; but overall not among the best Askey vehicles. I think all it really needed was a bit more witty repartee between Big and Stinker inserted into the plot, not only to pad the running time out but for a few laughs not associated with cross-dressing for the likes of me! But for anyone who sits through the entire 72 minutes not liking it: don't you ever feel a little foolish for having wasted your time?

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