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Charley's (Big-Hearted) Aunt

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Charley's (Big-Hearted) Aunt
Directed byWalter Forde
Written by
Produced byEdward Black
StarringSee below
CinematographyArthur Crabtree
Edited byR.E. Dearing
Music byLouis Levy
Distributed byGeneral Film Distributors (UK)
Release date
31 August 1940
Running time
75 minutes

Charley's (Big-Hearted) Aunt is a 1940 British comedy film directed by Walter Forde, starring Arthur Askey and Richard Murdoch as Oxford 'scholars'.[1]

The film is one of many to be based on the 1892 Victorian farce Charley's Aunt by Brandon Thomas. Arthur Askey's professional nickname was "Big-Hearted Arthur", which was added to the title to distinguish it from Jack Benny's version, for its (limited) American release.


Oxford students Arthur (Arthur Askey), Stinker (Richard Murdoch), and Albert (Graham Moffatt) are in danger of being "sent down" (expelled) for bad behaviour. Learning that the Dean of Bowgate College is an amateur Egyptologist, Arthur—who had just played the lead in a stage version of Charley's Aunt—poses as Albert's wealthy Aunt Lucy, who might finance an archeological expedition if the Dean is lenient on her nephew and his friends. Unfortunately, the real Aunt Lucy picks this day to pay a visit to Oxford herself, with calamitous consequences.

Differences from play

Aside from the Oxford setting and the premise of a male student impersonating his wealthy aunt, the film bears little resemblance to the original play. In one brief sequence, the play Charley's Aunt is shown being performed by the Oxford students.


Critical reception

  • TV Guide wrote that "Brandon Thomas's oft-filmed farce (at least seven times since 1925) has frequently been better, but Askey gives it a good shot."[2]
  • Sky Movies wrote that it is "tailored to the talents of the two stars, on the strength of their great success in the hit radio series Band Waggon. Those stalwarts of the British comedy film, 1935–45, plump Graham Moffatt and doddery Moore Marriott, are on hand to add to the fun, and the heroine is Phyllis Calvert, who was appearing in her second film."[3]


  1. ^ "Charley's (Big-hearted) Aunt | BFI | BFI". BFI. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  2. ^ "Charley's (Big-Hearted) Aunt Review". Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Charley's Big-Hearted Aunt - Sky Movies HD". 23 June 2002. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
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Charley's (Big-Hearted) Aunt
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