Charley’s (Big-Hearted) Aunt (1940) YIFY – Download Movie TORRENT
A Gainsborough Picture, made at Shepherd’s Bush Studios. Not copyrighted or theatrically released in the U.S.A. U.K. release through General Film Distributors: 2 September 1940. U.K. trade show: 16 April 1940. No Australian theatrical release. Mr. Forde’s services by courtesy of Associated Talking Pictures Ltd. 76 minutes.
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SYNOPSIS: Undergraduates attempt to avoid being sent down from Oxford by taking a leaf out of “Charley’s Aunt”.
NOTES: This seems to be the only British version of the Thomas play which opened at the Royalty Theatre, London, on 21 December 1892 and ran 1,466 performances. Despite the play’s enormous popularity on the English repertory circuit, all other movie versions are American: Sydney Chaplin starred in a silent for the Christie Film Company in 1925. Christie re-made the film in 1930, starring Charles Ruggles. In 1941, Fox produced “Charley’s American Aunt” (as it was called in Great Britain) starring Jack Benny; and in 1952 Warner Bros came up with “Where’s Charley” with Ray Bolger.
COMMENT: Well, playmates, it was a long time to wait — over fifty years — but was the wait worth it? (This version was finally shown in Australia, on national TV, on 16 July 1994. It was never released to Australian cinemas, because the local exchange, 20th Century-Fox, had no desire to undermine the box-office of their own Jack Benny movie). The answer is a very qualified yes. It was good to see the film at last, but it is only mildly amusing at best, and well below the standard of Askey’s other work of this period, such as “The Ghost Train” and “Back Room Boy”.
However it could have been even more bland. All the players try extremely hard to infuse the somewhat dated proceedings with mirth. (I mean the movie is still dated, despite the fact that the play itself is regarded as a period piece. Who could accept the 40-year- old Askey as an Oxford undergrad, and who but the most purblind idiot would be fooled for a second by his obvious impersonation?).
I could go through the entire cast list and single out each performer for praise. Phyllis Calvert looks very attractive here, whilst J.H. Roberts is wonderfully patronizing as a dean with an interest in Egyptology. Incidentally, unless my ears deceive me, I thought Miss Calvert’s name in the film was Peggy, not Betty, that Bargate is pronounced Bogate, and that Wally Patch plays an assistant proctor named Pryce.
This movie has been produced on a grand scale, with big sets and lots of extras milling about. Technical credits are likewise impressive. It’s a shame that all this expenditure of money and talent has not metamorphosed into an entertainment offering at least the equal of the Jack Benny vehicle which, being a much more straightforward adaptation, would seem to have many more handicaps to overcome.
Here on the other hand, we have a free-ranging script, plus players and a director well suited to their material, but the result, whilst very moderately funny, is outclassed by a competitor who started well down the field. Or to use another sporting metaphor, it’s a case of the British being beaten by the Americans at cricket — and on their home turf too!
I don’t know why Fox were so anxious to protect Benny and not simply let audiences decide who was the better aunt. I have no doubt Benny would have won that box-office contest hands down.
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