Guinevere Pettigrew, a middle-aged London governess, finds herself unfairly dismissed from her job. An attempt to gain new employment catapults her into the glamorous world and dizzying social whirl of an American actress and singer, Delysia Lafosse.
War threatens London as Miss Pettigrew, a destitute governess, filches a client's card from her agency and presents herself at the door. A singer named Delysia Lafosse wants a social secretary as she seeks a West End role by sleeping with a feckless producer in the bed of Nick, a smarmy nightclub owner with whom she also dallies. She ignores Michael, her piano player, who loves her and has tickets for New York on the Queen Mary. Miss Pettigrew's job is to make sure Delysia gets the part. Over 24 hours, Miss Pettigrew is also called upon to help an ambitious and unfaithful fashion editor patch things up with her older fiancé, a lingerie designer. Has Miss Pettigrew found her calling? Written by
Cute 30's-style story, but the best thing about this film was the art deco sets, the best art deco work I have seen since the real deco films of of the 30's. I almost forgot the story at times while looking at the gorgeous deco details in almost every scene. What a knockout apartment Amy Adam's character had, and the Savoy Hotel, wow again! Stunning, both.
As the story has been detailed many times here, I won't, except for this.....it was a combination of Cinderella, My Fair Lady, and many others showing rags to riches development of the star, along with a prince-in-hand, happy ending. The story was madcap, with Amy Adams' flashing star power and smile moving it along at the same breakneck speed she went through the men in her life. Frances McDormand played an unemployed, dowdy nanny turned Adams' "social secretary" by hook and by crook deception, and underplayed her part with great reserve and dignity even in the face of possibly having to live on the street again. Wonderful parts for both talents and both ran with them. Very entertaining film and a real treat for the senses as it also had beautiful camera-work to show off those fantastic deco sets.
If you miss the style, fashion and flair of those '30's nightclub films with big stars like Carole Lombard and Clark Gable, see this one and feel like you went back 70 years to the grand old age of "style" film-making.
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