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Daniel L. Haynes,
Nina Mae McKinney,
Peter Standish has just inherited a house on Berkeley Square in London from a distant cousin, although he is unsure why it was given to him. It isn't until he moves in that he discovers a special bond with the house. Upon the discovery of further artifacts of his ancestors who had previously lived there, including a detailed diary, Peter comes to believe that he is destined to walk into the house at 5:30pm on September 3rd to assume the life of one of those ancestors. That man, also named Peter Standish, was an American officer in Washington's army who walked into the house for the first time at the same moment on the same day 149 years earlier in 1784, shortly after the American Revolution. Then, it was the home of Standish's distant cousins, the Pettigrews - Lady Ann and her three offspring Tom, Helen and Kate, who would become Mrs. Standish in an arranged marriage. Peter believes he knows what he should do so as not to change history by the details listed in Standish's diary. ...Written by
They're not all that reasonable in the age of reason
Although this version of Berkeley Square was little more than a photographed stage play it does have Leslie Howard portraying Peter Standish as he did on Broadway for 229 performances during the 1929-1930 season. No other member of the cast repeated their roles. I have to say that the Tyrone Power version from 1951 was and is more cinematically viable.
That being said Leslie Howard was doing a part that was tailor made for him. He's a jaded American scientist who is firmly convinced that he is at some point in time destined to change places with an ancestor also named Peter Standish from the 18th century post American Revolution Great Britain.
When he gets there he mixes and mingles with high and mighty of the day like the Prince Of Wales, Dr. Samuel Johnson, and Sir Joshua Reynolds. And he knows things that others don't and uses all kinds of modern in this case 1928 idioms that first amuse then frighten.
He's in fact pledged to one woman, but falls in love with her sister played by Heather Angel, something he did not count on. It's almost like a trip to Fantasy Island where Mr. Rourke has arranged a trip to the Age of Reason. Usually those trips to some idealized place in history involved a cruel dose of reality as well and in Berkeley Square Leslie Howard gets just such a dose.
Howard and Angel are a wonderfully matched pair of lovers who will meet some day in time and space and know it. Howard earned his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor, the second coming with Pygmalion. Had Berkeley Square been better cinematically it probably would be more revived. As it is it's a great performance by Leslie Howard, one his legion of fans should treasure.
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