His Private Secretary is a 1933 romantic comedy starring John Wayne. Which is not such an outrageous idea - Wayne was always quite adept at light comedy. His Private Secretary is bright and breezy and reasonably entertaining.
Dick Wallace (John Wayne) is the son of a crusty millionaire businessman. Crusty is perhaps not quite an adequate term - Mr Wallace (Reginald Barlow) is a mean-spirited irritable cantankerous old curmudgeon. Mind you, he has plenty to be cantankerous about. Dick Wallace is lazy, pleasure-loving and an inveterate womaniser. Mr Wallace decides he’s had enough - he’ll give Dick one last chance to shape up. He puts him in charge of the debt collecting side of the business.
Dick isn’t too worried by this since he’s fallen had over heels in love with Marion. He’s also decided to turn over a new leaf. Now he’s found the right girl he’s ready to get married and settle down. Persuading his father to accept his new bride is however going to prove quite a challenge. Marion has her own plan to win the old boy over - he gets herself a job as his private secretary.
While it doesn’t provide too many laugh-out-loud moments it does at least manage to be gently amusing. Even with its very short running time (just 60 minutes) the pacing is a little on the slow side.
On the plus side John Wayne and Evalyn Knapp are likeable enough leads.
Phil Whitman’s direction is workmanlike if uninspired (again fairly typical for pre-code comedies which were generally turned out rather cheaply). The script definitely needed more actual comedy but the plot is adequate enough for this type of film.
This movie doesn’t reach any great heights but it has a certain charm and it’s interesting to see John Wayne as a contemporary urban professional with not a horse or a six-gun in sight. His Private Secretary is harmless lightweight fluff. Worth a rental, and possibly worth a purchase if you find it in the bargain bin.