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The Reluctant Debutante (1958)

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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 744 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 5 critic

A teenage American girl while visiting her father, is thrown into London society during the "Debutante Season".



(play), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Reluctant Debutante (1958)

The Reluctant Debutante (1958) on IMDb 6.9/10

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2 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview:
Kay Kendall ...
David Parkson
Mabel Claremont
Peter Myers ...
Diane Clare ...
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


Such Wonderful Screen Fun! See more »


Comedy | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 March 1959 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

The Reluctant Debutante  »

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 »


How About You?
Music by Burton Lane
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User Reviews

Kay and Rex sparkle like the sun
21 May 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Entrancing comedy driven by the captivating team of Rex Harrison and the divine Kay Kendall. Both masters of comic timing they make the slight plot of unexpectedly having to present Sandra Dee, Rex's very American daughter, into British high society highly entertaining. Hard to believe that Kay was dying of leukemia while this was being made and would only complete one more picture before her premature death at 33 the next year. She looks sensational, vibrant and full of life, and gowned and jeweled in an amazing array of stunning fashions. Rex is terrific, he often came across as a pompous ass on screen, which worked perfectly for My Fair Lady but otherwise could be off putting, but here he is bemused and full of wry detachment.

The supporting cast is sprinkled with funny performances. Sandra Dee is pert, sweet and amusingly frustrated as the object of Kay's misguided good will and John Saxon is darkly handsome and quite engaging. The two became good friends during the filming of this and remained so for the rest of Sandra's life. He was one of the few people she would see after she became a recluse.

Angela Lansbury is delightful as the loquacious flibbertigibbet cousin of Kay reminding those who only know her from Murder, She Wrote that she is an expert comedienne as well. The entire cast is wonderful but it is really Kay Kendall's movie all the way.

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