Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Dear Secretary

(1949, USA, 94m, b/w)
d Charles Martin p Leo C. Popkin sc Charles Martin ph Joseph F. Biroc ed Arthur H. Nadel ad Rudi Feld m Heinz Roemheld cast Kirk Douglas, Laraine Day, Keenan Wynn, Helen Walker, Rudy Vallee, Florence Bates, Alan Mowbray, Irene Ryan

Kirk Douglas was never at his best in comedy, but is convincingly shallow here as a bestselling author, full of enthusiasm for everything but actually writing, and riding roughshod over everyone with a breezy grin and flashing dimple. The latest in a long line of secretaries is Laraine Day who, once suckered into marriage, counters his grandstanding with some good old-fashioned battle-of-the-sexes stuff. Live-in chum Wynn provides frequent support, his unpredictable switches between avid pursuit of the female characters and queering it up in a pinny indicative of an overall unevenness of tone. But even if elisions, leaps of character development and changes of heart lack the elegant invisibility of Sturges or Hawks, the pace keeps up, the leads are appealing, and the running gags are enough to ensure a cheerful time.

© Time Out Film Guide

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