Mustard and ice cream are, in their proper settings, palatable items. Served together as a sundae, without the loss of individual flavor, they would soon convince the eater that each was better off without the other. The same is true of Jack Benny as "Charley's Aunt." Not that both the picture and Benny aren't screamingly funny--just that the picture would have been funnier with Jack Benny in something else and the same might be said of the Waukegan romeo.
The popular Brandon Thomas farce from which the screen play was adapted is one of the most successful stage plays of all times with more performances on the professional and amateur stage than any play except Hamlet. The well-known lead is a crank at Oxford who in his tenth year as an undergraduate tries to help a couple of pals out of a hole by impersonating the aunt of one of them. As a chaperone who needs a chaper-one herself, ah himself, Benny spends the evening trying to get into the amorous clutches of his pals' financees and out of the amorous clutches of sundry bewhiskered males. Kay Francis as the real aunt shows up just in time to catch Benny on the rebound. She and the remainder of the supporting cast are all excellent with Arlean Wheland in the romancing lead taking a big step from starlet toward star.
The horseplay of the corrode stands on its own feet and night have been better handled by a comedian less typed than Benny and more suited to the role. Sans Rochester, sans his usual gags, Benny with much enthusiasm and little natural ability does an acceptable job. But he personally, has been funnier in other pictures; and, funny as "Charley's Aunt" is, it has been more hilariously produced with a less pretentious cast.
Second feature, "Dressed to Kill" features Lloyd Nolan in the third picture of the "Michael Shayne, private detective" series. It's just dull enough to make you sleepy just exciting enough not to let you fall asleep.