Two wealthy Victorian widows are courted tentatively by two impoverished British aristocrats. When one of the dowagers suggests that her beau go away with her for a month to see if they are compatible, the fireworks begin.
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Victorian London. George, the 10th Duke of Bristol, and his equally upper class friend Richard Halton are both broke. To live, George has had to rent out his London castle to visiting young American socialite Helen Hale. So the only way George has access to his own home is when he is invited to a party hosted by Helen. Much to George's surprise, Richard confesses to him that he is in love from afar with and would like to marry wealthy widowed Maria Wislack, Helen's friend who George considers a haggard, controlling, old (forty-one) shrew of a woman. Richard believes he has no chance with Maria due to the difference in their financial situations. Richard is surprised to find that Maria knows he is in love with her, she in turn attracted to him. However, to test if they will be compatible as husband and wife, Maria proposes they spend one month together in her mansion on an otherwise deserted island off the coast of Scotland, Richard who is to row to the mainland every night and row ...Written by
in this 1944 film version of the Frederick Lonsdale play. Charming, caustic, biting, and very funny, On Approval centers on 4 people who end up together in a house in Scotland for a month to see if they are "suited" for marriage. Of course no one gets along, the servants leave instantly, and the weather is dreadful. Lillie made only a handful of films; what a pity. She's quite wonderful as the rich woman who disdains marriage. Clive Brook (best remembered for Cavalcade) is excellent as the Duke (son of a butcher's daughter) who assumes the airs of aristocracy without having money. Roland Culver and Googie Withers round out the bickering foursome. Surprisingly fresh and current. I'd seen the 1982 BBC play with Penelope Keith and remembered it fondly. This is different but equal. Lonsdale seemed at one time a copy of Wilde or even Coward. But he has a special way with words that makes for delightful dialogue. On Approval is worth looking for!
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