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Included on the VCI DVD of SUNDOWN (1941), this TV episode in a series based on the writings of W. Somerset Maugham is an ironic drama about a worthless necklace worn at a party by the governess (Angela Lansbury) of a rich house, and how the girl - and other social climbers who happen to be there, like Ron Randell - is affected when ageing aristocrat and diamond expert George Macready decides to play a prank on his society friends by deeming the beads to be worth $60,000! Ronald Colman (who has aged gracefully) introduces the episode and, while recounting the main story in flashback, appears in it as a sort of detached observer. While no great shakes in itself, it's nice to be able to watch - at such distance - some of the work made in the pioneering days of TV...
Taken from Ronald Colman TV, this episode, narrated by Colman who
presumably is playing the author, concerns a governess, Joan Robinson,
who fills in for a dinner guest for her employers, the Livingstons, and
finds her fortunes greatly improved by a visiting jewel specialist's
appraisal of the string of pearls she bought for a matter of shillings.
Showing how the sudden acquisition of wealth can change the perceptions of other people, 'A String of Beads' provides a good role for Angela Lansbury as Joan, with Brenda Forbes as her employer, Ron Randell as her rich suitor, Sean McClory as her old friend, and George Macready as the mischievous Count Bocelli.
There are no real surprises in this story, which has a fairly predictable and neatly presented solution. But as a simple 25 minute story, it is fine, and viewed here from a print with very few problems other than slightly muddy sound.
Angela Lansbury, Ronald Colman, Nigel Bruce, George McReady, how could
McReady see pearls are perfectly matched and at least 60,000 pounds?
"Ronald Colman TV"?!? "Sommerset Maugham TV Theatre"
This is a very confusing show to rate because determining exactly WHICH show it was wasn't easy. The file I downloaded from archive.org says it is an episode of "Ronald Colman TV"--but IMDb doesn't list this show. It also was listed as an episode of "Sommerset Maugham TV Theater" on the description from the website. However, after a bit of digging I realized that it is an episode of "Four Star Playhouse"--and Ronald Colman introduces and ends the show--otherwise he's not in the cast.
When the show begins, Colman and his date are at a restaurant. He sees a young lady (Angela Lansbury) there and relates to his date the unusual story of the young lady and her string of cheap beads.
Joan Robinson has been invited to a party among folks who are of a much higher social standing than her. She is a simple but likable governess. However, the Count (George Macready) sees her and declares to everyone that her necklace is extremely valuable. She denies this and says she bought it for a small amount. However, soon tongues start to wag and the people at the party start to think that this governess is actually a minor member of the royalty who has either fallen on hard times or who is choosing to remain incognito. And, because of that, all these society swells start treating her a heck of a lot better. She never lies and pretends to be anything other than a governess but these folks won't hear of it and begin inviting her to the best parties. What's going to happen next? See the show.
The plot for "A String of Beads" is awfully good. And, the acting is also quite wonderful. Excellent all around and an interesting and original tale.
Colman is the narrator (apparently Maugham) of this clever tale about what happens when an honest young governess is thought to be wealthy and even related to some obscure European noble family. The well-spoken governess is a last minute fill in at her employer's dinner party. Count Bocelli, a renown expert on gems and jewelry does a spot appraisal of the governess' beads and asserts that they are worth 60,000 pounds. The attitude of those at the party towards the governess immediately changes. The governess, however, never pretends to be anything other than what she actually is. Quite a delightful story that comes to a satisfying resolution. Amazing what can be done in 25 minutes with an engaging script and strong cast. Fun to see Nigel Bruce as a character he did so well - the somewhat befuddled and doddering Englishman. Angela Lansbury, as to be expected is very good in the role.
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