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The Reluctant Debutante (1958)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 25 December 1958 (Brazil)
A teenage American girl while visiting her father, is thrown into London society during the "Debutante Season".



(play), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview:
David Parkson
Mabel Claremont
Peter Myers ...
Clarissa Claremont


Jimmy and Sheila Broadbent (Rex Harrison and Kay Kendall), welcome to London Jimmy's 17-year-old daughter, Jane (Sandra Dee). Jane is from Jimmy's first marriage to an American and has come to visit her father and the step-mother she has never met. While visiting Sheila has the idea of making Jane a debutante, an idea Jane resists. Difficulties range from Jane's apathy to being placed on the marriage block, the determined efforts of Sheila's cousin, Mabel Claremont, (Angela Lansbury) to win wealthy David Fenner (Peter Myers) for her debutante daughter Clarissa (Diane Clare), and Jane's attraction to David Parkson (John Saxon), an American drummer who plays in the orchestra at the coming-out balls. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


MGM presents the Comedy-Romance in luscious COLOR! See more »


Comedy | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 December 1958 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Mamá nos complica la vida  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


At the first ball, the song Jane is dancing to is "The Boy Next Door." The song is from Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), also directed by Vincente Minnelli. See more »


Sheila Broadbent: What! David Fenner? Let me speak to him again. David, this is Sheila. About your mother, darling...
David Fenner: Well, I'm afraid she's dead, actually.
Sheila Broadbent: Yes, I know, darling, that's why I'm so sorry about asking you to give her my love.
David Fenner: I'm afraid I can't, because she's dead.
Sheila Broadbent: I know, darling, that's why I'm so sorry. It was such a silly mistake to make.
David Fenner: Well, she couldn't help it, actually.
See more »


Remade as What a Girl Wants (2003) See more »


Sweet Dreams
Music by George Stoll and Robert Van Eps
See more »

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User Reviews

Nobody Mentioned the Costumes
6 May 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I can't add much to what has already been said of this delightful movie. But nobody has mentioned the costumes. It's astonishing to note that Balmain created the dresses for both Kay Kendall and Angela Lansbury. Nearly 50 years later, Kendall still looks ravishingly current in her haute couture day and evening wear. The magnificent red dress she wears in the first party scene is a perfect example and she had the stunning figure to enhance these wonderful costumes. Angela, who had a nifty figure herself, is a more full-figured woman. She's also playing a nasty bitch in this film, and her costumes reflect this aspect of her personality. Instead of looking chic, she looks dowdy.

Sandra Dee's costumes were created by MGM's Helen Rose. I didn't care for any of her daytime wear which was very much a product of the 50s, but it is with gowns that Rose's talent shines, and there's a lovely blue gown with tiny blue bows in the final scenes of this movie that you really notice, and Dee wears the dress like the prom queen she was.

Rex Harrison could wear stylish men's clothing with panache, and he does so here too.

I love this sophisticated movie, which I only discovered a few years ago. And the interior sets are equally beautiful.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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