Tuesday, October 27, 2015

My Dear Secretary (1948)


This film's about a best-selling author, Owen Waterbury, whose secretaries usually become his mistresses.   He hires a new one, Stephanie "Steve"Gaylord, who thinks she's there to actually do secretarial work.  She finds out how wrong she is, but somehow gets sucked into Waterbury's life anyway and, as can only happen in movies, when she threatens to leave him, he marries her.  Steve's an aspiring writer herself, and both of them start married life working on new books. Hers turns out to be better than his, and their relationship disintegrates.  Hard times follow where they both hire new secretaries to get at each other, but of course, everything comes around eventually for a happy ending. 

I'm not particularly a comedy person, but I can be won over by a good light-hearted movie.  Alas, this one didn't work for me.  Which is too bad, as it might have worked with different casting.  Much as I adore Kirk Douglas, as fabulous as he is in movies like Lonely are the Brave, Paths of Glory, etc... this style of humor simply doesn't suit him.  Maybe he was too young to know how to play the role at the time, but the script doesn't do his character any favors either.  His character is an inconsiderate jerk taking advantage of any and everyone, and it's a wonder he managed to write a book with all his lazy playboy antics.  I've only seen Laraine Day in Foreign Correspondent (where I thought she was great), but I can't say she won me over here in comedy either.  I liked her best in her serious moments.  Neither actor seems to fit in this particular film.



However, if you leave the two leads out of it, the rest of the movie and cast is delightful.  Keenan Wynn was positively scene stealing.  Every time he was on screen, the movie came to life.  He made me laugh repeatedly with his smooth, charming, free-loading, bad cooking/ironing ways.  He was hilarious.  Irene Ryan as their maid and Florence Bates as their landlady were just as funny.  I also loved Helen Walker as Elsie, Waterbury's previous secretary/mistress.  Dump the leads and give the movie to these secondary characters, and it would have been a sparkling gem.  Everyone of them felt at home in this movie.  They turned silly situations and lines into genuine comedy, not forced humor.  It was just the leads who seemed like they were uncomfortable.

So, a mixed bag of a film. 

 

8 comments:

  1. OMG, you've changed your header since I've last been here!! No more Bill Holden gracing your page.

    My love for old movies remains, but my time for watching them has been nil for many months. However, my daughter's wedding is now behind me (October 10th), so I hope to get back to classic film viewing.

    This film is one I've never even heard of, and based on your review, I won't be seeking it out. I've come to love Kirk Douglas, but I think he's made for dramatic, gritty roles. Comedy, to me, just doesn't suit him.

    Have a great day,
    patti

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    1. Hi Patti! Congrats to your daughter on her wedding!! That's so exciting!

      I've also not been watching many movies lately, honestly. In fact, I think I had this disc from Netflix for about a month. Just wasn't motivated to watch.

      He does some comedy well. I love Tough Guys, for example, but the humor style of this one didn't work at all for him.

      And yeah, my header's been changing a lot lately. Sort of been switching it out ever month or two for something new. I'm sure Mr. Holden will be back at some point!

      Hope you're doing well.

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  2. It's too bad this movie doesn't work because it's sounds quite delightful. :) I confess, I haven't seen Kirk Douglas in a lot of films - for some reason, he's not one of my favorites. I like his son better. :)

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    1. I know several people who aren't Kirk Douglas fans! You're not alone!

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  3. I just realized today that next month, Kirk Douglas will be 99! Can this be true? Oh my.

    (I probably would watch this just for Keenan Wynn if it crossed my path ever.)

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    1. Keenan Wynn is priceless. Totally worth watching just for him. He is so hilarious in this.

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    2. BTW, I tagged you. Again. Right here.

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  4. Love the header! It's so precisely them. Also, the color of your background brings out the color in Joseph's beautiful blue eyes :-D

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