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Harriet Green, a beloved and radiant music hall star of the Edwardian era, has a guilty secret: She has a baby daughter, born out of wedlock. Harriet leaves her public and flees to South Africa to raise her daughter quietly. The years pass, and now her daughter, Harriet Hawkes, returns to London as a young show-biz hopeful. Tommy, a wily publicity man, knowing that young Harriet is a dead ringer for her famous mother, convinces a theater producer to star her in a new revue as none other than the original Harriet Green, miraculously untouched by old age. The ruse works too well: Now the public believes Harriet is a well-preserved 60-year-old and Tommy is her son. The deception is more than merely inconvenient, because now Harriet and Tommy have secretly fallen in love. Written by
Dan Navarro <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This film appeared more frequently on Channel 13 in the late 1980s than it does today. I'm glad it has been transferred to DVD, and I hope to find it one day.
The film was based on a musical comedy of the same name that was composed by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart but produced in London. It starred the rising musical comedy star of the 1930s and early 1940s Jessie Matthews. Married to Sonny Hale (who appears in the film as her producer) the story was about how Matthews takes part in a mild swindle. She is the granddaughter of a turn-of-the-century stage star, a beauty of that day, and Matthews pretends she is the same woman who has retained her youthful looks (but has grayish hair) due to a "fountain of youth" concoction. Hence the title, EVERGREEN. The show had many R.& H. tunes in it, but the best one was "Dancing on the Ceiling" which is still a standard.
In the movie, Jessie Matthews only pretends to be her mother, but the story is relatively the same. The complications involve her increasing romance with her publicist, her having to keep up the fiction of her reawakening an older romance with the aristocrat who romanced her mother, and her having to handle the blackmail of her actual father. It does eventually work out, even for the blackmailer (Hartley Powers).
Given the relative poverty in budgets of British musicals as opposed to Americans ones, this film is on par with the best American musicals of the period. As for Matthews, she went on to other musical film triumphs, including "FIRST A MAN", a musical about a woman, pretending to be a female impersonator. It was based on a German film, and both were the basis for the Julie Andrews - Robert Preston - James Garner triumph VICTOR/VICTORIA.
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