Housemaster (1938)

 |  Comedy  |  9 April 1939 (USA)
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Three girls arrive at a stuffy English public school and cause all sorts of problems with both the staff and pupils.



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Complete credited cast:
Diana Churchill ...
Phillips Holmes ...
Joyce Barbour ...
René Ray ...
Kynaston Reeves ...
Walter Hudd ...
John Wood ...
Cecil Parker ...
Henry Hepworth ...
Rosamund Barnes ...
Laurence Kitchin ...
Jimmy Hanley ...


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

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Release Date:

9 April 1939 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Phillips Holmes's last movie. See more »


Version of Housemaster (1949) See more »


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User Reviews

A nicely crafted film, full of light.
15 November 2001 | by (Mountain Mesa, California) – See 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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