6.8/10
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Notorious Gentleman (1945)

The Rake's Progress (original title)
Vivian Kenway (Sir Rex Harrison), a young Englishman from an aristocratic background, flunks out of Oxford, and decides to use his considerable charm to achieve his goal of, apparently, ... See full summary »

Director:

Sidney Gilliat

Writers:

Val Valentine (the story written by), Sidney Gilliat (the screen play written by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rex Harrison ... Vivian Kenway
Lilli Palmer ... Rikki Krausner
Godfrey Tearle ... Colonel Robert Kenway
Griffith Jones ... Sandy Duncan
Margaret Johnston ... Jennifer Calthorp
Guy Middleton ... Fogroy
Jean Kent ... Jill Duncan
Marie Lohr ... Lady Angela Parks
Garry Marsh ... Sir Hubert Parks
David Horne ... Sir John Brockley
Alan Wheatley ... Edwards
Brefni O'Rorke ... Bromhead
John Salew John Salew ... Burgess
Charles Victor Charles Victor ... Old Sweat
Jan Van Loewen Jan Van Loewen ... Soldier (as Jan van Loewen)
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Storyline

Vivian Kenway (Sir Rex Harrison), a young Englishman from an aristocratic background, flunks out of Oxford, and decides to use his considerable charm to achieve his goal of, apparently, making dissipation his career. His derelictions include seduction, betrayals of sweethearts, family and friends, and marriage for money. All this with no signs of remorse or redemption, since his life as a completely unprincipled rake is quite enjoyable, for him, at least. Then, World War II breaks out and he is given a chance to die a heroic death for flag and country. Maybe. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The private life of a magnificent heel...who brought out the woman in women!

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

1 November 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Notorious Gentleman See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (BAF Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer, Producer, and Director Sidney Gilliat thought that this was his best movie, but regretted that it had a great deal of censorship trouble, especially in America. The title was changed for the U.S., too. Producer Frank Launder and Gilliat always insisted this was because the American distributor feared audiences might think it was a movie about gardening. See more »

Goofs

Although the bulk of the film takes place in the years 1931-1938, all of the women's hairstyles and clothes are strictly in the 1945 mode, which is all wrong, particularly for the 1931 period. See more »

Quotes

Edwards: I've nothing against you personally Kenway.
Vivian Kenway: Decent of you to say so.
Edwards: It just that you're the last straw that's all. I'm sick and tired of teaching their jobs to gilded youths backed by influence and class privilege, and then watching them end up with better positions than my own.
See more »

Soundtracks

Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty
(uncredited)
Written by A.J. Mills, Fred Godfrey and Bennett Scott
See more »

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User Reviews

What a bounder!
17 December 1998 | by Gazza-3See all my reviews

The Rake's Progress (as this film is known in England) tells the story of a spoiled, rich public school boy who cannot settle in peace time but finds his role during the war by sacrificing himself for the war effort. The name of the film was changed for US audiences, according to Director Gilliatt, because 'the distributors thought the original one might lead audiences to expect something about gardening'!!

Your enjoyment of this movie will depend on your reaction to Rex Harrison in the lead role of Vivian. If you see him as a fun loving bounder, you'll have fun. If, on the other hand you find him an annoying, faithless, womanising bastard then you'll find 124 minutes verrrrry long.

I started off in the first camp, particularly during the scenes when he is based in a coffee plantation in Latin America and the amusing conversations with his elderly aunt. However the charm soon wears off as he cuckolds an old university friend, uses a beautiful jewish refugee to pay off his debts and causes his own father's death in a drink driving accident.

Does he find redemption in the end? Well, this depends on your interpretation of the final scenes. If you buy the moral that he has now found his place then the film has some meaning. I found the redemptive ending tacked on - reminiscent of the way Hawkes was forced to insert the criticism of gangsters in Scarface.

There are some good performances, particularly from Godfrey Tearle as Vivian's father and Margaret Johnson as the Secretary. Rex acts as Rex just like in Blithe Spirit, Doctor Doolittle, My Fair Lady etc....

If you've nothing better to do on a wet Sunday afternoon, give this film a look and post your views.


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