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In the first decade of the twentieth century Miss Marie Lloyd is the biggest female entertainer in England, adored by her public, in a biography commented on in song by 'the Showman'. Marie's first marriage is to fellow music hall entertainer Alec Hurley but it ends in divorce. She then marries Percy Courtenay, an adoring fan, but he is side-lined as Marie's popularity grows and this marriage also ends in disaster. Whilst Marie is a huge hit with the public because of her down-to-earth attitude, some fellow performers, such as Nelly Powers, find her act vulgar and a Mrs. Chant takes Marie to a tribunal, claiming that her songs are obscene. Marie simply points out that any vulgarity is in the minds of the listener and is acquitted. However, she is considered too rude for the Royal Command Performance, in which Alec appears, and finances a very successful 'Command' performance of her own. Ever unlucky in love, however, her last relationship is with a much younger jockey, who abuses her ... Written by
don @ minifie-1
A great performance from Jessie Wallace. Convincingly ageing from teens to fifties, and convincingly descending into desperation, loneliness and booze. I'm note sure whether or not she was really singing, but that's not a major quibble.
Whenever I watch a film about a real person, I wonder which bits were real, which made up, and which are dramatic licence. Clearly, Marie's best friend and dresser is a fictional character, existing just to give her someone to talk to. The narrator was totally unnecessary, contrived and, after a while, annoying.
Intriguing period detail, and plenty of excitement in the hustle-and-bustle backstage in the music halls. The idea of Marie as a "pop diva" is an intriguing one, and there are real parallels between her and some of today's female celebs. Her politicism, leading a strike, made an interesting counterpoint to the standard relationship-trauma that films like this will always emphasise.
Having researched Marie (ie: looked her up on Wikipedia), I find that she actually married Bernard (not made clear in the film); they caused a scandal in America when trying to visit the country as an unmarried couple.
The film had the inevitable focus on tragic lovelife and abuse menfolk, but the strength of Marie Lloyd's personality, and her trailblazing role in the public eye, are never forgotten. Sometimes overlooked, but never forgotten.
8 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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