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Charley's (Big-Hearted) Aunt (1940)

TV-G | | Comedy | 31 August 1940 (UK)
Taking inspiration from a well-known Victorian play, a modern-day prankster poses as a wealthy woman in a ploy to prevent him and his friends from being expelled from college.


Walter Forde


Brandon Thomas (adapted from the famous farce by), J.O.C. Orton (screen play) | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Arthur Askey ... Arthur Linden
Richard Murdoch Richard Murdoch ... 'Stinker' Burton
Graham Moffatt Graham Moffatt ... Albert Brown
Moore Marriott ... Jerry
J.H. Roberts ... Dean of Bowgate
Felix Aylmer ... The Proctor
Wally Patch Wally Patch ... The Buller
Phyllis Calvert ... Betty Forsythe
Jeanne De Casalis ... Aunt Lucy (as Jeanne de Casalis)
Elliott Mason Elliott Mason ... Dame Luckton


After a night of drunken revelry, Oxford student and prankster Arthur Linden-Jones is confined to school grounds. That evening, Arthur has the lead in the Victorian farce "Charley's Aunt." Not wanting to loose the profit from ticket sales, Arthur sneaks off campus. His escapades find him and his friends, Burton and Brown, in even deeper trouble. Appealing to their Dean's interest in Egypt, they create a story about Brown's philanthropic aunt being an Egyptologist. When the Dean requests a meeting with the lady, Arthur puts on a dress and becomes "Aunt Lucy." Written by L. Hamre

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

31 August 1940 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Charleys nya tant See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Gainsborough Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Full Range Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Jones's quote, "Smiling, the boy fell dead", is the last line of the poem, "The Incident of the French Camp" by Robert Browning. See more »


Version of Charleys tant (1926) See more »

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User Reviews

Classic humour for enthusiasts only
24 August 2001 | by hazelfreemanSee all my reviews

Developing the identity mix-ups of the original Charley's Aunt stage play, this film provides a vehicle for several British pre-war comedy performances.

Arthur Askey is in the key role, supported by Richard (Stinker) Murdoch, and Graham Moffat and Moore Marriott (both better known as support for Will Hay, and in this film respectively 21 and 55 years old, can you believe that?) and Felix Aylmer. The rate of change of humour was pretty slow in those days and every one of them seems to us now to be playing parodies of themselves, but it was cutting edge stuff during the second year of WW2.

Askey (40 when the film was released) plays a fun-loving Oxford University undergraduate. Having played Charley's Aunt in drag on stage in a play within the film, he has to play a female drag role more seriously to avoid expulsion for him and his friends for a disciplinary offence.

Seriously intricate situations arise, including his being taken into the women's changing rooms at an athletic club; in 1940 there was little bare flesh on view but the scene was still daring. Shortly afterwards, the lady whom he is impersonating turns up, and things rapidly degenerate.

Foolish nonsense that hasn't stood the test of time too well, but good archive material for the enthusiast.

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