It's a Boy (1933) Poster


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Heather Thatcher! None can match her!
The American character actor Edward Everett Horton had the sort of precise, well-modulated diction which American audiences tend to mistake for an upper-class English accent. In "It's a Boy", Horton actually plays an Englishman. Even more amazingly, he does so in a British film (from the splendid Gainsborough Pictures) made by producers who had their pick of genuine English actors. Presumably, Horton's presence here was intended to make this British movie more attractive to American audiences. The movie's director (Tim Whelan, who helmed several excellent English films) is also American, although this fact was unlikely to matter to American filmgoers.

"It's a Boy" stars Horton as Dudley Leake, who is betrothed to Mary Bogle (the very pretty Wendy Barrie). Shortly before the wedding, Dudley blurts a confession to his friend and best man, Jim Skippett: 20 years ago, Dudley had a brief affair with a certain Miss Piper, but he's never heard from her since then.

Next day, who should suddenly appear? A youth about 19 or 20 years old, claiming to be named Joe Piper. Is he Horton's son, or is Skippett playing a practical joke? What will Mary say when she finds out that Dudley Leake has leaked on a previous occasion?

"It's a Boy" is funny, but not nearly so funny as it ought to be. Part of the problem is that Joe Piper (supposedly the son of the character portrayed by Horton) is played by an actor who doesn't resemble Edward Everett Horton at all. Also, Horton's characterisation here as Dudley Leake comes very close to the fussbudget 'nelly' character he played in so many Hollywood films, which makes it somewhat implausible that Leake would be in this particular situation. There's one sequence which I found especially wince-worthy, when male actor Leslie Henson dons a makeshift bridal train and links arms with a very discomfited Horton ... as if the two men were bride and groom.

The English character actress Heather Thatcher was one of those rare actresses who could be funny and sexy at the same time. The tall blonde Miss Thatcher was gawky, beak-nosed, often cast in unattractive roles, yet I find her extremely compelling on screen and she's always a joy. In "It's a Boy", she gives an hilarious performance as a novelist named Anita Ginn (geddit?). To complicate matters, her character writes under a male pseudonym ... and her male identity inevitably intrudes into this movie's farcical proceedings.

Dudley Leake's prospective father-in-law (well-played by Alfred Drayton) rejoices in the name Eustace Bogle. This sounds like the monicker of a character in a W.C. Fields movie. I kept hoping this movie would reach the glorious heights of hilarity and surrealist humour that were typical for W.C. Fields. Alas, no.

I'll rate "It's a Boy" 6 out of 10. Edward Everett Horton was never one of my favourite character actors, but he works hard here ... and he and the delightful Heather Thatcher play off each other very capably.
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Marital Mixups
drednm17 May 2014
Edward Everett Horton is about to be married to Wendy Barrie, but out of the blue a young man (Albert Burdon) shows up claiming to be his love-child son from World War I. Of course Horton assumes this to be true without asking for any proof. But how to explain the "boy" to Barrie and her starchy family? He dragoons his pal (Leslie Henson) in helping with a charade.

In another plot, Heather Thatcher is a successful novelist who writes cheesy books under a man's name. She runs into pal Barrie and gets involved in the wedding preparations. When grasping for a man's name to tell the father, Horton spies the novel and blurts out the authors name as the boy's father. But the author is really a woman (Thatcher).

After more complications, both Henson and Burdon end up in drag claiming to be the woman author until each is unmasked, Thatcher comes forward as the author, and Burdon is exposed as a con artist.

It's all pretty silly but funny. And it gets funnier as it goes along. Horton is, as always, quite good as the flustered groom. Henson and Burdon are really funny as ugly women. Thatcher is breezy, Barrie is pretty. Alfred Drayton and Helen Haye are the parents. Robertson Hare is the beleaguered butler, and Joyce Kirby is the savvy maid.

Worth a look.
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Goofy fun.
MartinHafer16 January 2016
I have no idea why the Brooklyn-born actor, Edward Everett Horton, is in this British movie. But, he did have a rather patrician accent and the film is enjoyable.

When the film begins, Dudley (Horton) and his friends are enjoying a drunken bachelor party. He and his best man get back late and, not surprisingly, sleep so late that Dudley misses his wedding! Instead of just telling everyone what happened, he begins by telling a lie...and the lies keep building and building. Add to that a guy who shows up and claims to be his long-lost love child and you have the recipe for a very goofy film--especially when two of them end up in drag!

This is a very silly film and one that is worth seeing.
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