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The Private Secretary (1935)

A timid and dim-witted clergyman is duped into helping a playboy avoid his creditors, inherit his uncle's fortune and get the girl.


Henry Edwards


George Broadhurst (adaptation), Charles Hawtrey (play) (as Sir Charles Hawtrey) | 2 more credits »




Credited cast:
Edward Everett Horton ... Rev. Robert Spalding
Barry MacKay ... Douglas Cattermole
Judy Gunn Judy Gunn ... Edith Marsland
Oscar Asche Oscar Asche ... Robert Cattermole
Sydney Fairbrother Sydney Fairbrother ... Miss Ashford
Michael Shepley ... Henry Marsland
Alastair Sim ... Mr. Nebulae
Aubrey Dexter ... Gibson
O.B. Clarence ... Thomas Marsland
Davina Craig Davina Craig ... Annie
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kitty Kelly


A timid and dim-witted clergyman is duped into helping a playboy avoid his creditors, inherit his uncle's fortune and get the girl.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on play | See All (1) »









Release Date:

September 1935 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Visatone Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film is one of over 200 titles in the list of independent feature films made available for television presentation by Advance Television Pictures announced in Motion Picture Herald 4 April 1942. At this time, television broadcasting was in its infancy, almost totally curtailed by the advent of World War II, and would not continue to develop until 1945-1946. Because of poor documentation (feature films were often not identified by title in conventional sources) no record has yet been found of its initial television broadcast. See more »

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User Reviews

Too Cute for Words
5 June 2017 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

Milquetoast Edward Everett Horton is the clerical private secretary, in London for some reason, calling upon wastrel Barry McKay, who is being pursued by creditors. McKay comes up with the idea of having Horton take his place -- without telling him, of course -- and assuming Horton's, until McKay's enormously wealthy uncle arrives from London. Complications ensue, including McKay falling in love with his quondam employer's daughter, and the dotty old lady who loved Horton's uncle until he died a quarter of a century earlier, and for whom Horton is named; Alistair Sim is the medium who promises to open communications with her lost love.

It's played extremely broadly. If there are a few scenes intended to open it up from the original stage play by Charles Hawtrey, they are obvious interruptions to the play. Oscar Ashe is amusing as McKay's uncle, who is appalled by Horton, and who thinks there's nothing better than a red-blooded nephew who owes large sums. There are a few funny lines scattered through the dialogue, but the coy score doesn't help much.

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