Like Niagara Falls, Charley’s Aunt stands the test of time. Jack Benny playing with enthusiasm and romping merrily and crazily along the route, takes fullest Advantage of laugh opportunities.
Under expert direction of Archie Mayo, there’s no letdown in the fast pace maintained for rollicking results. Many situations are double-barrelled for laughs – first when the audience is given advance tipoff on what’s going to happen; and a roar when it actually occurs. Only deft timing by both director and comedian can achieve that result, and the Benny-Mayo Team works in perfect synchronization.
Picture closely follows the stage farce [by Brandon Thomas] in unfoldment, carrying Oxford background of 1890. Perennial student Benny is forced to masquerade as Charley’s rich aunt from Brazil to provide chaperronage while Charley (Richard Haydn) and James Ellison have their girl friends for lunch and marriage proposals. The old-fashioned female getup Tosses Benny into a series of complications that fall on him in torrents.