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Housemaster (1938)

Three girls arrive at a stuffy English public school and cause all sorts of problems with both the staff and pupils.


Herbert Brenon


Ian Hay (play), Dudley Leslie | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Otto Kruger ... Charles Donkin
Diana Churchill ... Rosemary Faringdon
Phillips Holmes ... Philip de Pourville
Joyce Barbour Joyce Barbour ... Barbara Fane
Rene Ray ... Chris Faringdon (as René Ray)
Kynaston Reeves Kynaston Reeves ... The Rev. Ovington
Walter Hudd ... Frank Hastings
Michael Shepley ... Victor Beamish
John Wood ... Flossie Nightingale
Cecil Parker ... Sir Berkeley Nightingale
Henry Hepworth Henry Hepworth ... Bimbo Faringdon
Rosamond Barnes Rosamond Barnes ... Button Faringdon (as Rosamund Barnes)
Laurence Kitchin Laurence Kitchin ... Crump
Jimmy Hanley ... Travers


Three girls arrive at a stuffy English public school and cause all sorts of problems with both the staff and pupils.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Release Date:

9 April 1939 (USA) See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Phillips Holmes's last movie. See more »


Version of Housemaster (1949) See more »


Sun of My Soul, Thou Saviour Dear
Hymn from Katholisches Gesangbuch, Vienna, 1674
Music by Herbert Stanley Oakeley
Words by John Keble
See more »

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User Reviews

A nicely crafted film, full of light.
15 November 2001 | by rsoonsaSee all my reviews

Scottish dramatist Ian Hay contributed numerous memorable lines to his well-finished plays, several in collaboration with P.G. Wodehouse, and this film transposes one of his works very niftily indeed, marked as it is by top-flight direction, cinematography and acting, notable even during the time it was released, although lamentably neglected today. The script, as adapted by Dudley Leslie, blessedly retains a good portion of Hay's sly dialogue, and features events at a boys school in England, where a new headmaster, Mr. Ovington "the Egg" (the acerbic Kynaston Reeves), has been administering increasingly stricter disciplinary measures, to the consternation of the boys and the distaste of Charles Donkin (Otto Kruger), one of the housemasters, which latter must deal next with an onset of three young ladies and their guardian, from Paris, who will be staying as his unexpected guests, resulting in a gratifying assortment of romantic, humourous and poignant episodes. The elegant Kruger obviously relishes his part, and Reeves is magnificent as his cold-spirited superior, while the supporting cast mates well from top to bottom with the quick-moving scenario's business, with Cecil Parker a standout, as ever. Director Herbert Brenon understands stage as well as screen performing, with decades of experience with both, and artistically controls the film's development, much abetted by tasteful camerawork by the veteran German, Otto Kanturek, with emphasis from both upon clarity, limning such lines as Hay's "What do you mean, funny? Funny peculiar or funny ha-a?", still in common parlance six decades and more later.

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