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Hay Fever (1984)



(play) (as Noel Coward)
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Cast overview:
David Bliss
Richard Greatham
Jackie Coryton
Michael Siberry ...


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Release Date:

26 December 1984 (UK)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This movie was made after Penelope Keith had had a big hit in the West End production, though the supporting cast here is different. See more »


Judith Bliss: Myra Arundel is straining "freedom" to its utmost limits.
Simon Bliss: Don't you like her?
Judith Bliss: No, dear, I detest her. She's far too old for you; and she goes about using sex as a sort of "shrimping net".
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User Reviews

Penelope Keith as a Madcap Actress
17 January 2017 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

HAY FEVER is a play written by Noel Coward in the 1920s in which he based his lead character, the flamboyant actress Judith Bliss, on the flamboyant actress Laurette Taylor. The play was successfully launched in London and New York in the mid-1920s and revived again in the 1930s. Usually considered minor Coward, the play has gained steam as the decades have passed until it is now considered one of his best plays. Oddly, no major films have ever been produced. There were a few minor British TV productions in the 1930s and 40s, That being said, a wondrous British TV movie was made in 1984 (still the only filmed production) starring Penelope Keith as the maddening Judith Bliss, a great actress who bemoans aging and is rusticating at her country home with her equally maddening family: her husband novelist and her two grown children. It seems that each has invited a guest for the weekend without telling anyone else. Of course each guest proves to be unsuitable and the weekend goes terribly wrong, reducing the family to endless-yet-witty squabbling. The parlor game they play is very funny.

Keith is center stage as the actress who is likely, at the drop of a hat, to break into a scene from some play. Keith is a master at playing the quicksilver character who can turn from drama to comedy in a tick.

Excellent set opens the "drawing room" comedy, and the costumes are first rate. Keith's gold gown is mesmerizing.

Keith had starred in a West End production, on which this TV version is based. Lots of familiar faces among the co-stars include Paul Eddington, Patricia Hodge, Joan Sims, Benjamin Whitrow, Susan Wooldridge, Phoebe Nicholls, Michael Siberry, and Michael Cochrane.

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