On New Years Eve, 1899, baronet's son Edward Courtney becomes engaged to Kate, his mother's maid, much to the scandal of London society. The film then follows their family through four generations, with separations, joys, tragedies, and service in the Boer War, WWI, and WWII. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Anna Neagle plays a lovely Irish colleen the daughter of maid Ethel O'Shea who works in the house of The Courtneys Of Curzon Street. Anna works there as well and around the turn of the last century she falls in love with Michael Wilding who is the heir to the place and about to embark on an army career with service in the Boer War.
Naturally this raises some eyebrows and The Courtneys Of Curzon Street deal with class differences, not as pronounced in America as across the pond back in those days. Which might have lessened the box office potential here in America as I'm sure many in the audience just didn't get it.
Not that this is a bad film by any means, in fact it is probably one of Anna Neagle's best films. Anna who endures a long separation puts herself on stage and we get to see her sing and dance. Interesting how the people who snubbed her before when she becomes a star they kowtow pretty good to Lady Courtney.
The film covers 45 years of British history from the Boer War to the end of World War II and the travails and heartaches of the Courtney family is set against the backdrop of the real events of the time. One thing that was fascinating is that in the beginning Neagle has a full blown Irish brogue, but as the years go by she starts affecting distinct upper class speech. By the end of the film you would hardly recognize her humble origins.
The Courtneys Of Curzon Street bears no small resemblance to Noel Coward's Cavalcade, but it hardly has Coward's wit. Still you'll find it an entertaining film and an entertaining social history.
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