I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
Not too long ago, I was flipping through the cable channels and happened up this film on Turner Classic Movies. I’d enjoyed other films with Rex Harrison (e.g. My Fair Lady and the original Doctore Dolittle) and was happy to find something that promised to be entertaining while also avoiding many of the offensive parts found in more modern films. (It’s amazing how quickly the boys decide to watch a film with mom and I don’t like having to worry about little eyes and ears.)
When 17-year-old Jane Broadbent comes to London to live with her wealthy father Jimmy Broadbent, her stepmother Sheila feels compelled by her social aspirations to introduce her to society. Jane is bored by the debutante balls she attends and the young men she is introduced to, but becomes interested in a drummer named David Parkson, who has a reputation for leading young women astray. To complicate matters, David Fenner relentlessly pursues Jane, even though she openly detests him. As it turns out, Parkson’s reputation is undeserved, but Sheila is convinced otherwise, and she tries to keep him away from Jane. Sheila’s garrulous friend Mabel interferes with Sheila’s attempts to separate the two in order to secure David Fenner for her own daughter, Clarissa. Fortunately for Jane and David, Sheila’s plans fail miserably. The two young people fall in love with each other, and David Parkson proposes to Jane. He also inherits an Italian title of nobility, satisfying Sheila’s concerns for Jane’s social status.
My Thoughts ~
There were some scenes full of clever witty commentary and I enjoyed a glimpse into ‘high society’s life’ over in England. Being introduced to society as a young lady is something that still happens today, just not at the same level that this film portrays. But, I do recall some classmates back in my youth in Louisiana being part of cotillions.
I really found myself drawn to the performance of Kay Kendall (the step mom, Sheila) as she jockeys for position rather than be seen as a ‘failure’ in the eyes of other English nobility. (As an aside, I love her haircut in this film, too!) Angela Lansbury did a wonderful job as Sheila’s main rival in trying to secure good futures for their daughters. Rex Harrison was not disappointing as the father who is trying to support his wife and still fulfill his obligations after late night dances many nights of the week. Sandra Dee and John Saxon were great fits for the ‘teen heartthrobs’ of the movie.
This film is not rated, but for the most part is okay with a wide range of viewing ages. A few of my boys watched through most of the movie making their own comments about what they view as insanity…. dancing and trying to find the perfect guy for a union. There is abundant use of alcohol and cigarettes, which given the time frame of the picture is not unexpected. And, there is one character who turns out to be not so good for the daughters as he will try to force his affection (in the form of a kiss) upon the object of his affection. While there is physical attraction between Jane and David, the characters refrain from more than kissing in the movie. There might have been a vulgar word or two in the film, but I honestly can’t recall one at the moment. Then again, modern TV is peppered with them to the point that I sometimes self-edit them out when I do watch a show.
I checked TCM’s schedule and did not see a future airing date. Amazon sells copies on DVD and a few other locations do as well. Sadly, Netflix does not carry this title. But, if you are lucky, there might be a copy at your library. And, I suspect TCM will run it again sometime in the future.
Having watched this film, I am inspired to view other films by the main actors of the film. I was saddened to hear that Kay Kendall, who was married to Rex Harrison, only made one more film after this one as she died of leukemia. She was one talented lady and I have to wonder what other films she might have made to entertain the masses had she lived longer.
This post has been submitted for inclusion in The Christian Home, Issue 65 hosted here. As the featured columnist for the Movies and Music category, you can be looking forward to weekly posts on what we are watching or music we’ve enjoyed.
Feel free to leave suggestions for me as well that are family friendly or uplifting for adults. While I have movies and some music selections in mind, I’m always on the lookout for other great choices.