While Lady Christabel Beauclark, a bird fancier, is scurrying about demanding certain territorial rights for British birds from other countries, Her Ladyship's niece is falling in love with... See full summary »
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While Lady Christabel Beauclark, a bird fancier, is scurrying about demanding certain territorial rights for British birds from other countries, Her Ladyship's niece is falling in love with the family butler, Tom Gilbey. The birds are forgotten when war breaks out, and Gilbey now finds himself in love with the niece whose love was previously unrequited. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
... though somewhat confusing. I would have been the first to attempt a synopsis for this movie but the plot to me was a bit oblique. Not only do we have a romance across "class distinction" lines with the backdrop of a slightly daffy female aristocrat trying to protect English migratory birds, but there is something to do with an interpreter played by the beautiful Lilli Palmer who neither looks nor sounds like a Brigid Knudsen. And our heroine, Joan, played by Penelope Ward, getting all mad at the criss-cross of relationships the meaning of which people scope out on the basis of one remark or juxtaposition. At least Joan gets a bit of come-uppance when a foreign political cartoonist sketches her toothy upper class face a bit too faithfully; that funny showcase is never revisited so it's almost like a red herring, but never mind. The political cartoonist is one of the menage of trois or quatre or cinq that gets Joan and others upset; the other major player is a Frenchman who I kept expecting to get with Lilli/Brigid, especially as she looked and sounded so much more French herself.
But the priceless person in this little exhibition, aside from Margaret Rutherford as our dotty aristocrat, is Michael Wilding, who went on to fame as Elizabeth Taylor's second husband. He apparently never rated himself as a good actor but he is very effective here, and very funny in spots. And not bad-looking. Transparently an attempt to cash in on the success of My Man Godfrey about a romance with one's butler from across the pond, for my money this one was even better, which does happen occasionally with rip-offs. Notwithstanding that that sort of thing might never have happened -- my stepfather insisted that British aristocracy would never look beyond their class so Pygmalion/My Fair Lady was completely fraudulent, too, in his view. But despite some of the stumbles, it can be forgiven on the basis of sprightliness and maybe any awkwardness adds to the comedy.
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