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HIS PRIVATE SECRETARY (director: Philip H. Whitman; screenwriters: story by Lewis D. Collins/Jack Natteford; cinematographer: Abe Scholtz; editor: Robert Ray; cast: Evalyn Knapp (Marion Hall), John Wayne (Dick Wallace), Reginald Barlow (Mr. Wallace), Alec B. Francis (Rev. Hall), Arthur Hoyt (Little, office manager), Natalie Kingston (Polly), Patrick Cunning (Van, Polly’s Brother), Al St. John (Garage Owner Tom), Hugh Kidder (Jenkins, the Butler), Mickey Rentschler (Joe, young kid); Runtime: 60; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Al Alt; Alpha Video; 1933)
“A young John Wayne is a delight playing a millionaire’s irresponsible playboy son in this charming romantic comedy.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A young John Wayne is a delight playing a millionaire’s irresponsible playboy son in this charming romantic comedy. We first see Dick Wallace (John Wayne) tipsy while partying with gold digger Polly. Mr. Wallace (Reginald Barlow), a NYC businessman, lectures his son to settle down, that it’s one girl after another, then blames himself for raising a spoiled brat. He decides to give Dick one more chance and orders him to report to the office early in the morning. Dick is sent to rural Somerville to collect the debt owed by the Reverend Hall (Alec B. Francis). On the way he gives a lift to a pretty young lady, not realizing that she’s Marion Hall (Evalyn Knapp), the reverend’s granddaughter. After getting off on the wrong foot, Dick redeems himself by extending the loan to the reverend. When Dick’s dad hears he didn’t collect because he met a girl, he fires his son. Dick swaps his fancy convertible to buy a garage, as he stays in Somerville only to court Marion. But she doesn’t fall for Dick’s smooth lines and rebuffs him until she learns he got fired because of the loan business. They get married, and Dick tells his dad to no avail that he met a nice girl. Dad says she’s a gold digger without ever meeting her and disowns his son. Marion hopes to straighten things out and goes to the office to meet her new father-in-law. Before she can explain why she came to see him, Marion is hired as his private secretary. Not knowing that’s his son’s wife, the boss is impressed with his secretary’s character and work. Mr. Wallace says he wishes his son married someone like her to straighten him out.

It’s an atypical role for Wayne, who became a legend in westerns, but in his later years he did play the romantic lead with great skill in the 1952 romantic comedy The Quiet Man. Philip H. Whitman directs; Jack Natteford writes based on the story by Lewis D. Collins.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”