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Max Liebman Presents: Dearest Enemy (1955)

TV Movie  -  Musical  -  26 November 1955 (USA)
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Based on the Broadway show "Dearest Enemy" from 1925. This musical tv special is based on an incident of the American Revolution, at the home of Mrs. Robert Murray , and the British landing nearby and arriving at the Murray home.

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(book), (TV play)
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Cast

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Betsy Burke
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Captain John Copeland
Cyril Ritchard ...
General Howe
Cornelia Otis Skinner ...
Mrs. Murray
Helen Ford
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Based on the Broadway show "Dearest Enemy" from 1925. This musical tv special is based on an incident of the American Revolution, at the home of Mrs. Robert Murray , and the British landing nearby and arriving at the Murray home.

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american revolution | See All (1) »

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Musical

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26 November 1955 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Rare Rodgers & Hart Musical In Charming TV Adaptation
4 October 2013 | by (San Francisco, California) – See all my reviews

Producer-director Max Liebman (Your Show Of Shows) treated US TV viewers to a series of lavish musical specials on NBC, from 1954 through 1956, on weekend nights. Dearest Enemy was one of these also presented, as Americans were starting to buy the more expensive sets in this era, in color. (Though the copy I watched was black and white.) The original 1925 show was inspired by a monument Lorenz Hart saw in New York City referencing a Mrs.Murray from colonial days, the posh Manhattan neighborhood Murray Hill was named after her husband. A real historical incident where she and other women in her mansion deliberately delayed British troops that were passing through New York, in order to help the American Revolution, was turned into a musical. Since the show is hardly revived I can't say how faithful the TV adaptation (co-written by none other than Neil Simon) is. Things get off to a fun start with the first scene, set in 1788 in a London officers club as the stuffy elderly members read their papers and reminisce. General Howe (Cyril Ritchard) introduces a flashback to 1776 to explain the real reason why the Brits lost their American colonies- women. We hear the troops' lively song, "Cheerio, Little Mother Of Mine" and Ritchard goes into an amusing ditty about the former Dutch governor of New York, Peter Stuyvesant. The scene switches to the widowed Mrs.Murray's place, the other women sing about their men being away at war, and as the Brits approach Mrs. Murray(played by grande dame of American theater, Cornelia Otis Skinner) sings advice to them ("War Is War")The two younger stars, Brit captain (Robert Sterling) and Mrs. Murray's niece Betsy (Anne Jeffreys) meet cute by the water and sing. Back at Mrs. Murray's the general sings to her about love in old age. The women are urged by a rebel soldier to delay the Brits. The act concludes with the most well known song from the show, "Here In My Heart It's Adorable." Act II opens with a gravotte dance. Mrs. Murray and the general sing about New York City (of which lyricist Hart was deeply fond) as a place for romance in "Where The Hudson River Flows."The younger lovers sing "Bye And Bye."A King's courier is kept by the ladies in the cellar and tempted with food to tell them his message. They then trick the officers by telling them they have to wait because various dignitaries such as Washington and Jefferson are expected there soon. The general sings to Mrs. Murray, "What Do All The Hermits Do In Spring?" The final act opens with Betsy singing to her aunt about her love ("I'd Like To Hide It.")Later the captain becomes their prisoner but Betsy sings to him and lets him go.The finale shows the two men reuniting with their women, who have come to England to visit after the victory of their American Revolution, and we hear a medley of some of the songs (I counted 13 total!) from this charming piece.


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