Cicely Courtneidge was a major musical comedy star in England for decades. She starred in 30s films (sometimes with husband Jack Hulbert) and ranked as a major star. She seems forgotten now.
Most of her films are minor musical comedy efforts, often based on stage shows, and the films suffer for that. SOLDIERS OF THE KING, also known as THE WOMAN IN COMMAND, has a mish-mash of a plot, but that doesn't really matter.
Courtneidge stars here in a dual role, as the retiring Jennie Marvello, the "queen" of an odd stage troupe that marks its ancestry back to Nell Gwyn. Her successor is Courtneidge as Maisy Marvello. Maisy is pursued by stage manager Edward Everett Horton but is devoted to "the act." She had a failed love affair years before but is threatened "the act." When Maisy ascends to "queen," they bring in Judy (Dorothy Hyson), but she is soon pursued by a handsome officer (Anthony Bushell). It's then up to Maisy to confront her old flame to save Judy and "the act." The highlight is the adagio act when Maisy has to replace Judy at the last minute (the show must go on). Courtneidge is a delight as she is tossed and thrown around the stage. She also gets to sing a couple songs.
Courtneidge is probably best remembered now for he co-starring role in THE L-SHAPED ROOM.
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