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The Baron des Aubrais (Lawrence Grossmith) is the head of the Parisian "Society for the Reward of Virtue". Because of the nature of his position, he must strive to be the very embodiment of Christian morality. This means avoiding women and alcohol, especially. So when his daughter, Jacqueline (Jean Gillie), asks for her father's permission to marry René Boislurette (Henri Garat) the Baron takes it upon himself to investigate the young man's background, proclaiming "like father like son." When he discovers that the man's father is a church warden, he happily agrees to the marriage, so convinced in his beliefs that he doesn't even see the need to meet René beforehand. Relieved, Jacqueline sends her brother, Hubert (Mackenzie Ward), round to fetch her now-fiancé back so that he may finally meet her father. While at René's apartment, Hubert meets the mysterious Suzanne Pomarel (Frances Day), the wife of another man. Meanwhile, the meeting between prospective father and son-in-law doesn't go well, when the Baron recognises René as the young man he saw drunk in a police station a few days ago, when he was proving his point to a fellow league member that children really do take after their parents. Hubert has become smitten with Suzanne and, with help from the amiable René, offers to take her to a show at the Moulin Rouge. It then turns out the the respectable Baron des Aubrais has also been frequenting the Moulin Rouge for some time, and has become known as something of a "sugar daddy" to the young women there, leading to some awkward questions for the Baron when René, Hubert and Suzanne unexpectedly encounter him there.
The Girl in the Taxi was based on a popular 1910 German operetta "Die keusche Susanne" which had translated into a London stage production in 1912. A cinematic adaptation followed in the USA in 1921, before being revived for this 1937 version, produced at Ealing Studios.
The film was directed by prolific French filmmaker André Berthomieu (dramatically rendered as simply "Berthomieu" in the credits), and he shot this English version of the story alongside the French version La chaste Suzanne a common practice at the time. Henri Garat was the only actor common to both films.
The first half of the film meanders along, with nothing really seeming to happen. There's a song almost forced in during one of the early scenes, which seems at odds with the film. It's a reminder of how popular musicals were at the time and something the audience would have almost expected to see, irrespective of whether or not it aids the story. It's a relief in the second half when the setting moves to the Moulin Rouge and the film is finally injected with some much-needed life, with some of the spirit of the Parisian cabaret shining through. There's a few humorous moments thrown in, with the apparently dignified Baron revealed to be a bit of a cad just as his son wishes he were himself. The problem is that such moments are few and far between. The Baron is a highlight as an embryonic Terry- Thomas character, but the film's various plots don't seem to hold together well and it's never satisfactorily explained why these characters are doing all of these bizarre things.
The Girl in the Taxi isn't a particularly entertaining film, and the dynamic Moulin Rouge scenes aside quickly becomes tedious. Lawrence Grossmith as the caddish Baron is enjoyable to watch, but the other performances are either over-the-top or simply seem disengaged. Overall, there's nothing outstanding about The Girl in the Taxi, though it remains a valuable example of early British musical cinema.
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