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 ... See full summary »
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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>
Evergreen gives us a chance to see Jessie Matthews who starred on stage as well as screen in the United Kingdom in the role that made her a star. So few stars of the 30s and 40s were able to recreate their roles so we are fortunate indeed.
Charles Cochran of the London stage, the British equivalent of Florenz Ziegfeld hired American songwriters Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart to write the score for Evergreen. As it is in Hollywood the Gaumont- British only retained a few Rodgers&Hart songs, most importantly Dancing On A Ceiling which was Matthews's first big hit. Some British musical bits and new songs written by British songwriter Harry Woods were written for this film including Over My Shoulder which also became identified with Jessie Matthews.
Only later on after Matthews prime years did she go to Hollywood for films turning down a lot of offers. I understand that Gaumont-British also tried to get Fred Astaire to co-star with no success. She and Astaire would have been marvelous.
The story has Matthews first appearing on the London stage in the Victorian era and becoming a smash success. But the impending birth of a daughter out of wedlock forces her to retire to South Africa. Going to the Thirties Matthews as her own daughter is seeking employment when publicity agent Barry MacKay convinces producer/star Sonnie Hale to feature the daughter as her ageless mother making a comeback.
Unfortnunate her low life of a sperm donor Hartley Power shows up and threatens to blow the whole thing wide open. This is a Fedora like scheme played a little more lightly.
Matthews sings and dances divinely especially with Sonnie Hale with whom she was involved in real life and who became her second husband.
Rightly so Evergreen is considered the best British musical from that era. I haven't seen better and it holds up well today.
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