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April 25, 2012 is Administrative Professionals Day. Join us in a look at some of the best movies where a secretary plays a key role. The following films are listed in alphabetical order. All films have links to where you can purchase them.
Accent on Youth (1935) - A young secretary falls in love with her boss, a middle-aged playwright. Complications ensue when her boss' son falls for her.
Andy Hardy's Private Secretary (1941) - When overextended senior class treasurer Andy (Mickey Rooney) winds up overdrawing the graduation dance fund, Judge Hardy (Lewis Stone) tries to help out an impoverished young woman (Kathryn Grayson, in her film debut) by hiring her as his son's girl Friday. He'll need all the help he can get, as his disastrous English final puts his teacher/aunt (Sara Haden) in a compromising position.
Bachelor Apartment (1931) - A typical pre-code era comedy, Bachelor Apartment was the creation of its leading man, silent screen matinee-idol Lowell Sherman. He plays Wayne Carter, a Park Avenue roué, whose dalliances with a series of women are beginning to catch up with him. Enter a brunette and rather drab Irene Dunne searching for her wayward sister (Claudia Dell). Sherman falls like a ton of bricks for the no-nonsense and seemingly unresponsive Dunne, whom he hires as his executive secretary.
Beauty and the Boss (1932) - Based on a popular European stage play, this racy (for its time) workplace comedy stars Warren William as a Viennese banker/playboy who fires secretary Mary Doran because her good looks are too distracting. Drab-dressed, ultra-efficient Marian Marsh seems like a perfect replacement, but how will William react when Doran gives Marsh a makeover?
Behind Office Doors (1931) - RKO "woman's film" stars Mary Astor as a super-efficient secretary who holds the real power in her office, while holding a torch for an unappreciative executive.
Day-Time Wife (1939) - Suspecting that businessman husband Tyrone Power is having an affair with his secretary, spouse Linda Darnell decides to get even by taking a job with an associate of Power's in the romantic comedy "Day-Time Wife," with Warren William.
Ghostbusters (1984) - Annie Potts as secretary Janine is still classic. Working in an office that specializes in ghost hunting for three eccentric parapsychologists, Janine, for the most part, remains civil. On taking a call from someone who apparently saw something that wasn't human, Janine, in her heavy Brooklyn accent, asks, "Is it just a mist or does it have arms and legs?"
The Girl Said No (1930) - In this vintage comedy, William Haines stars as a brash young man who is determined to make it rich--even if he has to rip a few people off to do so! When he meets wealthy beauty Leila Hyams, he attempts to get her to buy some junk bonds by getting her drunk until she signs on the dotted line. With Marie Dressler, Polly Moran.
Grand Hotel (1932) - Based on 's novel and produced by , this film is about the lavish Grand Hotel in Berlin, a place where "nothing ever happens." That statement proves to be false, however, as the story follows an intertwining cast of characters over the course of one tumultuous day. is Grusinskaya, a ballerina whose jewels are coveted by Baron von Geigern ( ), a thief who fancies Flaemmchen ( ), a stenographer and the mistress of Preysing ( ), businessman boss of Kringelein ( ), a terminally ill bookkeeper who is under the care of alcoholic physician Dr. Otternschlag ( ). won Best Picture at the 1932 Academy Awards.
His Private Secretary (1933) - Early John Wayne effort casts the Duke as a playboy who, against his rich father's wishes, loves carousing with the ladies. Then, he meets a minister's daughter and changes his lifestyle. Evalyn Knapp, Alec B. Francis star.
Honor Among Lovers (1931) - Fredric March, a businessman, is in love with his secretary (Claudette Colbert) but she deserts him for another man; when she realizes her mistake, she goes back to March. Ginger Rogers is Colbert's girlfriend who is love with Charles Ruggles.
It's All Yours (1937) - Jimmy Barnes arrives from Europe to be educated by his multi-millionaire uncle, Edward J. Barnes and in five years the extravagant escapes of Jimmy, now a lawyer, are the talk of San Francisco. Linda Gray is a mouse-like secretary to the elder Barnes who has fallen in love with Jimmy, but he favors actress Constance "Connie" Marlowe. Mr. Barnes
dies and leaves everything to Linda but he has urged his partner, Alexander Duncan, to plan things so that Jimmy and Linda will get married.
More Than a Secretary (1936) - Secretary Carol Baldwin (Jean Arthur) is in love with her boss, health-magazine publisher Fred Gilbert (George Brent). So what else is new? Well, for starters, Carol isn't terribly attractive, so Fred pays but little attention to her until...
My Dear Secretary (1948) - The battle of the sexes has never been funnier than in this zany screwball comedy focusing on skirt-chasing author Kirk Douglas. After hiring business-savvy bombshell Laraine Day to be his personal secretary, Douglas finds his carefree life complicated when she moves into his busy bachelor pad. When a book written by Day becomes a bestseller, the pair find themselves engaged in a riotous rivalry. With Keenan Wynn, Rudy Vallee, Helen Walker.
The Office Wife (1930) - Dorothy Mackaill is captured in her pre-Code heyday in this pair of racy efforts. First, publisher Lewis Stone posits that contemporary businessmen have closer bonds with their secretaries than their spouses, and has to squirm as eager new girl Friday Mackaill puts his theory to the test, in "The Office Wife."
Psycho (1960) - Janet Leigh, as Marion Crane, meets an unfortunate fate at the end of the movie. But before that infamous shower scene at the Bates Motel, she was the stylish 30-something secretary of a real estate office who embezzles a boatload of money, which subsequently leads to her doom.
Secrets of a Secretary (1931) - In this drawing room drama, an impetuous heiress goes on a cruise and ends up marrying a Latin gigolo on a whim. Her father then dies, and as soon as her devoted husband discovers that the old man died destitute, he takes off. Now the girl must work; she gets a job as her father's best friend's wife's social secretary. The former socialite finds herself tormented by her boss's rotten daughter. Even so, when the mean young woman finds herself involved in a murder, it is the ex-socialite who tries to help her cover up the crime. Later the heroine's conniving ex-husband tries to blackmail her boss with the information. Trouble ensues.
She Married Her Boss (1935) - A super-efficient secretary at a department store falls for and marries her boss, but finds out that taking care of him at home (and especially his spoiled-brat daughter) is a lot different than taking care of him at work.
Skyscraper Souls (1932) - An entrepreneur will let nothing stand in his way of acquiring a 100-story office building.
The Social Secretary (1916) - In this silent classic, Norma Talmadge stars as a skilled social secretary who is great at her job but not so wonderful at dealing with the unwanted romantic advances of her various male employers. But when she takes a job working for a powerful woman, will her fortunes change? Or will Talmadge just be faced with a new series of obstacles? With Kate Lester, Helen Weir, Gladden James.
That Certain Woman (1937) - Melodramatic favorite stars Bette Davis as the widow of a gangster who tries to turn her life around by taking a job as secretary for an attorney. His playboy son (Henry Fonda) falls in love with her and, against his father's wishes, they get married. But a child, class, cash, and a car crash play parts in the ensuing tragic events. Ian Hunter, Anita Louise, and Donald Crisp also star.
Wife vs. Secretary (1936) - The wife of a publishing executive mistakenly believes that her husband's relationship with his attractive secretary is more than professional.
Working Girl (1988) - A distaff Horatio Alger tale for the '80s, starring Melanie Griffith as a plucky Manhattan secretary who steps in when her boss is hospitalized and puts together her own deal. Sigourney Weaver, Harrison Ford and Joan Cusack co-star in Mike Nichols' comedic ode to climbing the corporate ladder.
You Can't Take It With You (1938) - The stenographer Alice Sycamore is in love with her boss Tony Kirby, who is the vice-president of the powerful company owned by his greedy father Anthony P. Kirby. Kirby Sr. is dealing a monopoly in the trade of weapons, and needs to buy one last house in a twelve block area owned by Alice's grandparent Martin Vanderhof. However, Martin is the patriarch of an anarchic and eccentric family where the members do not care for money but for having fun and making friends. When Tony proposes Alice, she states that it would be mandatory to introduce her simple and lunatic family to the snobbish Kirbys, and Tone decides to visit Alice with his parents one day before the scheduled.
You Only Live Once (1937) - The public defender's secretary and an ex-convict get married and try to make a life together, but a series of disasters sends their lives spiraling out of control.