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Take a Letter, Darling (1942)

Approved | | Comedy | 6 May 1942 (USA)
A struggling painter takes a job as a secretary to a female advertising executive. While working to obtain an account from a tobacco company, they end up falling in love.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (story)
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Tom Verney
...
Jonathan Caldwell
...
Ethel Caldwell
...
G.B. Atwater
Charles Arnt ...
Fud Newton (as Charles E. Arnt)
...
Uncle George
Kathleen Howard ...
Aunt Minnie
Margaret Seddon ...
Aunt Judy
...
Moses
George Reed ...
Sam French
...
Sally French
Sonny Boy Williams ...
Micky Dowling
John Holland ...
Secretary
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Storyline

A struggling painter takes a job as a secretary to a female advertising executive. While working to obtain an account from a tobacco company, they end up falling in love. Written by Ken Carson <kcarson@efn.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She Had Him Put in a Full Day's Work ... At Night!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 May 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ela e o Secretário  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First feature film of Macdonald Carey. See more »

Quotes

Tom Verney: You're a beautiful brain and beautiful clothes. No temperature, no pulse. That's all.
A.M. MacGregor: Where did you learn about women, Verney?
Tom Verney: It isn't a matter of learning. It's instinct.
A.M. MacGregor: I'm a brain with no pulse, eh? I'm a woman, Verney, more woman than you'll ever know.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the last scene, the camera zooms in on a billboard, which shows the closing credits...and an ad for the film's fictional tobacco company. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bearding
1 February 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

It's too bad that director Mitchell Leisen wasn't working today and making Take A Letter Darling. If he did there would be a whole lot more explicit gender bending in this one.

Not that this film isn't good. In fact it's witty and bright and shows Rosalind Russell at her best. In her autobiography Russell describes this film as the first in her career woman roles. I'm supposing she isn't counting His Girl Friday, I guess Russell thought that Hildy Johnson had a job as a reporter as opposed to a career. After all she was trying all through the film to get away on her elopement and honeymoon with Ralph Bellamy.

But in Take A Letter Darling, Russell is a partner with Robert Benchley in an advertising agency. She can't keep a secretary and for good reason, she's got some specific night work requirements for a secretary and she demands the male gender as requirement number one.

In the gay world that Mitchell Leisen was part of, it's called hiring a beard. So many did it back in the day when the closet ruled. Many of the gay stars were always paired with public female dates lest there be any whispers about their sexuality. I'm sure it was the same in the business world.

Russell hires free spirited artist Fred MacMurray to squire her around and keep jealous wives at bay and to deter husbands from getting any ideas about some after office frolicking. In fact she sends MacMurray out to a favorite men's shop of hers where she gets him outfitted the same way Gloria Swanson took care of William Holden in Sunset Boulevard.

In real life Russell would have hired a gay man for her purposes, but since the mere mention of gay was out of the question, the heterosexist MacMurray is hired. They double team husband and wife George Reed and Margaret Hayes to land one account.

But an even bigger challenge presents itself with brother and sister tobacco heirs, Macdonald Carey and Constance Moore. Carey's been married four times already and Moore is a mint julep sucking southern belle who looks at MacMurray like a Virginia ham.

Take A Letter Darling holds up very well today although a knowledge of the mores of the times would certainly help younger viewers. This is definitely a film that could stand a remake, a more honest and explicit film about the practice of bearding.


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