On the sidewalks of the London theater district the buskers (street performers) earn enough coins for a cheap room. Charles, who recites dramatic monologues, sees that a young pickpocket, ... See full summary »
On the sidewalks of the London theater district the buskers (street performers) earn enough coins for a cheap room. Charles, who recites dramatic monologues, sees that a young pickpocket, Libby, also has a talent for dancing and adds her to his act. Harley, the theater patron who never knew Libby took his gold cigarette case, is impressed by Libby's dancing and invites her to bring Charles and the other buskers in his group to an after-the-play party. Libby comes alone. A theatrical career is launched. Written by
Dale O'Connor <email@example.com>
In the scene where Libby wrecks Charlie's apartment and holds the sewing machine up to throw it, the figure who enters through the door with his back to the camera is clearly a body double for Charles Laughton. See more »
This is a rare treat for coinnesseurs, a film where three of the greatest actors of Hollywood, Rex Harrison, Charles Laughton, and Vivien Leigh, strut their considerable stuff! They were all still relatively young in 1938, but already you can see the promise of great things to come, for the three, especially Laughton, who was already one of the world's finest actors.
In many ways the story resembles Harrison's later role as Professor Higgins in "My Fair Lady"(1964). Laughton and Leigh play buskers in the street, and Harrison plays a toff who gives Leigh a chance at stardom. Laughton plays quite a similar role to his later "Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1939) who falls in love with the girl but recognises he is too ugly for her, and eventually contents himself with her kindness towards him. You can see Laughton's superb acting skills, when she kisses him, and his eyes shine with satisfaction and pride, as they wave goodbye to each other. It is truly a precious moment in films, a moment to savour.
The following year saw the release of Leigh's "Gone With The Wind" and of course "The Wizard of Oz", two of the greatest films ever made, so minor films like this tended to be forgotten quickly. It's worth taking another look, though, at this film, which deserves far more recognition than it got.
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