Charley's Aunt

( 2 )

Overview

Jack Benny brings his own distinctive touch to Brandon Thomas' venerable and oft-filmed stage farce Charley's Aunt. Utilizing a gloriously unconvincing broad-A English accent, Benny is cast as Lord Fancourt Babberly, a somewhat overaged undergraduate at Oxford University. Babbs' roommates Jack Chesney James Ellison and Charley Wyckeham Richard Haydn, in his film debut are desirous of inviting their lady friends Kitty Verdun Arleen Whelan and Amy Spettigue Anne Baxter to their quarters, but first they must secure ...
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Overview

Jack Benny brings his own distinctive touch to Brandon Thomas' venerable and oft-filmed stage farce Charley's Aunt. Utilizing a gloriously unconvincing broad-A English accent, Benny is cast as Lord Fancourt Babberly, a somewhat overaged undergraduate at Oxford University. Babbs' roommates Jack Chesney James Ellison and Charley Wyckeham Richard Haydn, in his film debut are desirous of inviting their lady friends Kitty Verdun Arleen Whelan and Amy Spettigue Anne Baxter to their quarters, but first they must secure the services of a proper escort. When Charley's aunt Donna Lucia D'Alvadorez Kay Francis is detained, Jack and Charley coerce Babbs, who has dressed up as an old lady for a school play, to pose as the absent Donna Lucia. The fun really begins when, for reasons far too complicated to detail here, both Jack's father Sir Francis Chesney Laird Cregar and Amy's uncle Stephen Spettigue Edmund Gwenn romantically pursue the bogus aunt. The third-act arrival of the real Donna Lucia only adds to the comic confusion-but at least poor Babbs has finally found a lady friend closer to his own age. The female-impersonation angle in Charley's Aunt has been known to descend into vulgarity, but Jack Benny remains both hilarious and tasteful throughout. Understandably, the film was one of Benny's favorites.
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Special Features

Commentary with film historian Randy Skretvedt; "Three of a Kind" - Charlie's Aunt promotional short; Still gallery
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The 1941 version of Charley's Aunt would be notable if only because it's one of the rare films in which Jack Benny is playing a real character, rather than a mere extension of his well-developed and recognizable personality. Oh, the trademarks are still there, but they're employed in the service of a character and a story -- and without the self-referentiality that so often accompanies them in other films. But Aunt has more going for it than this novelty, for Benny's performance is a delight. Sure, no one will buy him as English for half a second, and his American-ness sometimes is at odds with the style of the material. But he's so much fun (and so surprisingly energetic) that most will be willing to overlook these flaws. Benny understands that no one will for a minute would really accept him as a woman, and so doesn't go in for any real impersonation -- which of course makes him that much more amusing. He's excellent throughout, though perhaps his finest moment occurs when, disguised as the aunt, he gets the chance to give "motherly" kisses to the two women he is supposed to guard. The rest of of the cast is good, if clearly in his shadow; the one exception being, oddly, Kay Francis, who just doesn't seem to be giving the part her all. Many will find the screenplay creaky and the set-ups obvious, but the mechanics don't really get in the way too much as long as Benny is around.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/12/2007
  • UPC: 024543440642
  • Original Release: 1941
  • Rating:

  • Source: Fox Searchlight
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Subtitled / Pan & Scan
  • Time: 1:22:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 69,195

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jack Benny Babbs Babberley, Lord Fancourt
Kay Francis Donna Lucia
Anne Baxter Amy Spettigue
Edmund Gwenn Stephen Spettigue
Richard Haydn Charles Wyckham
James Ellison Jack Chesney
Reginald Owen Redcliff
Laird Cregar Sir Francis Chesney
Arleen Whelan Kitty Verdun
Ernest Cossart Brassett
Morton Lowry Harley Stafford
Lionel Pape Bobberly
Will Stanton Messenger
Claud Allister Spectator
William Austin Spectator
Maurice Cass Octogenarian
Herbert Gunn Student
Brandon Hurst Umpire
John Meredith Teammate
C. Montague Shaw Elderly Man
Gilchrist Stuart
Basil Walker Student
Technical Credits
Archie Mayo Director
Travis Banton Costumes/Costume Designer
Robert Bischoff Editor
Richard Day Art Director
Nathan Juran Art Director
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
J. Peverell Marley Cinematographer
Alfred Newman Score Composer
William Perlberg Producer
George Seaton Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Charley's Aunt
1. Main Titles/Cricket Match [3:57]
2. Tea Time [2:51]
3. Where's My Tie? [3:55]
4. Expelled [2:18]
5. Dilemma [1:22]
6. Loveless Marriage [7:06]
7. Aunt Babbs [6:47]
8. Mr. Spettigue [2:12]
9. Where the Nuts Come From [5:00]
10. Courtship [3:47]
11. Marriage Proposal [4:39]
12. Bearded Lady [6:21]
13. True Love [6:59]
14. Mrs. Smythe [2:31]
15. Jumping for Joy [2:29]
16. Charming Encounter [2:54]
17. Bursting at the Seams [3:04]
18. Racy Story [2:20]
19. Anything You Like [1:45]
20. Blowing Smoke [2:05]
21. A Long Story [1:55]
22. One Little Kiss [2:48]
23. Duped [1:19]
24. Charley's Aunt/End Titles [1:07]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Charley's Aunt
   Play
   Language Selection
      English Mono
      English Stereo
      Commentary by Film Historian Randy Skretvedt
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Spanish
      Subtitles: French
      Subtitles: None
   Scene Selection
   Special Features
      Commentary by Film Historian Randy Skretvedt: On
      Commentary by Film Historian Randy Skretvedt: Off
      Three of a Kind: Charley's Aunt Promotional Short
      Advertising Gallery
      Production Gallery
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Not as Good as I Had Hoped

    This movie is one I hadn't heard of and it promised to be an exciting farce with Jack Benny playing a part in drag. It was not as good as I had expected. Benny plays the part but mostly from a straight angle and doesn't get into any of his campy routines he became famous for. Most of the gags are simply ones that would be expected in a movie where someone is impersonating an old lady. And they are tired and not at all funny.
    Now I know why I hadn't heard about this movie.

    I think Haunted Honeymoon is a tad dopey, but it has this movie beat hands down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews