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Curtain Up (1952)

Approved | | Comedy | 31 January 1953 (USA)
In a small town in the 1950's a repertory company meets on Monday morning to start rehearsing the following week's play. This is a ghastly thing written by the aunt of one of the theatre's ... See full summary »


Ralph Smart


Michael Pertwee (screenplay), Jack Davies (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Morley ... W.H. 'Harry' Derwent Blacker
Margaret Rutherford ... Catherine Beckwith / Jeremy St. Clair
Kay Kendall ... Sandra Beverley
Michael Medwin ... Jerry Winterton
Olive Sloane ... Maud Baron
Liam Gaffney Liam Gaffney ... Norwood Beverley
Lloyd Lamble ... Jackson
Charlotte Mitchell Charlotte Mitchell ... Daphne Ray
Charles Lamb Charles Lamb ... George
Constance Lorne Constance Lorne ... Sarah Stebbins
Maggie Hanley Maggie Hanley ... Mary (as Margaret Avery)
Stringer Davis Stringer Davis ... Vicar
Joan Hickson ... Harry's Landlady
John Cazabon ... Mr Stebbins
Diana Calderwood Diana Calderwood ... Set Painter


In a small town in the 1950's a repertory company meets on Monday morning to start rehearsing the following week's play. This is a ghastly thing written by the aunt of one of the theatre's directors. The producer doesn't try to hide his annoyance about it, and is further exercised when the authoress herself arrives to help. The cast have to try and sort out real-life problems that keep intruding as they wrestle with the play's dire dialogue. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

theater | based on play | See All (2) »




Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

31 January 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Premiere findet doch statt See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Constellation Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film starred Margaret Rutherford and Joan Hickson who both later played Miss Marple in adaptations of Agatha Christie's novels. See more »


W.H. 'Harry' Derwent Blacker: I wonder if I might borrow your script for a moment.
[Catherine hands Harry her script]
W.H. 'Harry' Derwent Blacker: Thank you.
[he leafs through the script, turning over page after page]
Catherine Beckwith: Are you looking for something?
W.H. 'Harry' Derwent Blacker: The plot, madam.
Catherine Beckwith: Dress, Scenery or Lighting plot? I have them all handy.
W.H. 'Harry' Derwent Blacker: The plot, madam, of Tarnished Gold. Most plays have them. Yours seems to be the exception. Ah, I see the beginning of a plot on page 27 - and we're now on page 1.
See more »

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User Reviews

Good for some but remember its an oldy
13 December 2006 | by th_clapSee all my reviews

Along with gems alike "Withnail & I," "A Midwinters Tale," even "Noises Off" Curtain Up is a film every live theatre worker should see. Based on the idea that 'it'll be alright on the night!' the film is infused with clichés from the theatre world. From the first time author in awe of her creation, the could-have-been-famous-but-if-only-it-weren't-for-xxx-reason actress, the drunken actress in mid-life crisis who insists on being nude, the juvenile lead whose best audience is his mirror to the jaded director/producer who plows on regardless of others' emotions they are all lifted directly from the people who still work in the live industry today. The cast, lead by Morley and Rutherford, are excellent in portraying these highly-strung individuals that even though work for selfish reasons, pull together to finish the play before 'Curtain Up' Today however the film is very dated. Even for the fifties, regional theatres in England weren't often in the position to have a weekly-rep company employed fulltime. This film documents an institution eroded by film and television and to view today seems odd, old-fashioned and perhaps far fetched. Its a jolly giggle that gives tribute to the live theatre and as such many in-jokes may be missed by a layman. So when watching this well roasted chestnut use a little forgiveness. It was released in a different time for a different market, however for any actor, technician, director or the like its a must.

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