I Live in Grosvenor Square

Last updated

I Live in Grosvenor Square
I Live in Grosvenor Square FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Herbert Wilcox
Produced byHerbert Wilcox
Written by Maurice Cowan (story)
William D. Bayles
Arvid david
Nicholas Phipps
Starring Anna Neagle
Rex Harrison
Dean Jagger
Robert Morley
Music by Anthony Collins
Cinematography Mutz Greenbaum
Otto Heller
Production
company
Associated British Picture Corporation
Herbert Wilcox Productions
Distributed by Associated British Picture
20th Century Fox
Release date
  • 15 May 1945 (1945-05-15)(London)
  • 3 September 1945 (1945-09-03)(United Kingdom)
  • 3 March 1946 (1946-03-03)(United States)
Running time
114 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Box office$1 million (US) [1]

I Live in Grosvenor Square is a British comedy-drama romance war film directed and produced by Herbert Wilcox. It was the first of Wilcox's "London films" collaboration with his wife, actress Anna Neagle. Her co-stars were Dean Jagger and Rex Harrison. The plot is set in a context of US-British wartime co-operation, and displays icons of popular music with the purpose of harmonising relationships on both sides of the Atlantic. [2] An edited version was distributed in the United States, with two additional scenes filmed in Hollywood, under the title A Yank in London.

Contents

Plot

In the summer of 1943, after he is taken off combat operations for medical reasons, American SSgt John Patterson (Dean Jagger), an Army Air Force gunner, is billeted in the London home of the Duke of Exmoor (Robert Morley) in London's Grosvenor Square. He is befriended by the Duke and British paratrooper Major David Bruce (Rex Harrison). The latter has taken leave from the army to contest a parliamentary by-election in Devonshire.

On a weekend visit to the duke's estate near Exmoor in Devon, Patterson meets the duke's granddaughter, Lady Patricia Fairfax (Anna Neagle), who is also a corporal in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. However, she is David's childhood sweetheart. After a cool beginning, distanced on cultural misunderstandings, they fall in love. David is unaware of what is happening until the final night before the election, when it becomes clear to him during a party on the estate. The next day, the duke learns that his estate has been appropriated by the American army for a base and that David has lost the election.

David and Patricia argue, and David plans to return to active service.

When Patterson realizes that Pat and David have long expected to marry, he contrives to obtain medical clearance to go back to combat duty. David realises that Pat still loves Patterson and arranges for them to reunite. Returning from a mission with heavy battle damage, Patterson attempts to help his pilot land their B-17 Flying Fortress at an emergency landing strip at Exmoor, but is killed when the bomber stalls as they manoeuvre to avoid crashing in the village. The plane explodes killing everyone. Ironically it is Pat who takes the message listing the dead.

The duke and his family mourn Patterson at a memorial service in the village church, an American flag is presented to be hung in the school. The vicar leads out the names of the crew who died to save the village.

David is seen in the co-pilots seat flying with his paratroop unit to parachute into France (implying but not stating that it is D-Day).

The film ends with a poem by Walt Whitman regarding the relationship between the USA and Britain.

Cast

Notable supporting players included Charles Victor, Ronald Shiner, Percy Walsh, Brenda Bruce, Shelagh Fraser, John Slater, Alvar Lidell, David Horne, Robert Farnon and Carroll Gibbons. [3]

The Canadian Band of the AEF appears with bandleader/arranger Captain Robert Farnon. [4] They filmed their sequence in late 1944. [5]

Reception

Wilcox later said Rex Harrison was the greatest actor whom he had ever directed "without a doubt". [6] He planned on making more films with Harrison but the actor received a contract offer from 20th Century Fox and left for Hollywood. [7]

Box Office

The film was popular at the British box office. [8] According to Kinematograph Weekly the 'biggest winners' at the box office in 1945 Britain were The Seventh Veil, with "runners up" being (in release order), Madonna of the Seven Moons, Old Acquaintance, Frenchman's Creek, Mrs Parkington, Arsenic and Old Lace, Meet Me in St Louis, A Song to Remember, Since You Went Away, Here Come the Waves, Tonight and Every Night, Hollywood Canteen, They Were Sisters, The Princess and the Pirate, The Adventures of Susan, National Velvet, Mrs Skefflington, I Live in Grosvenor Square, Nob Hill, Perfect Strangers, Valley of Decision, Conflict and Duffy's Tavern. British "runners up" were They Were Sisters, I Live in Grosvenor Square, Perfect Strangers, Madonna of the Seven Moons, Waterloo Road, Blithe Spirit, The Way to the Stars, I'll Be Your Sweetheart, Dead of Night, Waltz Time and Henry V. [9]

Critical

Critic Bosley Crowther wrote in The New York Times , "There is much that is admirable about A Yank in London, and the glimpses of Irene Manning singing for the boys at the Rainbow Corner in Piccadilly will stir memories. But the picture, like the script, is diffuse, and Mr. Wilcox in his direction permits scenes to dissolve in a rambling, confusing style"; [10] while more recently TV Guide called it "An entertaining but overlong romance." [11]

Related Research Articles

Anna Neagle English stage and film actress and singer

Dame Florence Marjorie Wilcox, known professionally as Anna Neagle, was an English stage and film actress, singer and dancer.

Michael Wilding English actor

Michael Charles Gauntlet Wilding was an English stage, television, and film actor. He is best known for a series of films he made with Anna Neagle, for the two films he made with Alfred Hitchcock and for being Elizabeth Taylor's second husband.

Dean Jagger American actor

Dean Jeffries Jagger was an American film, stage and television actor who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Henry King's Twelve O'Clock High (1949).

Irene Vanbrugh

Dame Irene Vanbrugh DBE was an English actress. The daughter of a clergyman, Vanbrugh followed her elder sister Violet into the theatrical profession and sustained a career for more than 50 years.

Herbert Wilcox Film producer and director from Britain

Herbert Sydney Wilcox CBE, was a British film producer and director who was one of the most successful British filmmakers from the 1920s to the 1950s. He is best known for the films he made with his third wife Anna Neagle.

<i>Irene</i> (1940 film)

Irene is a 1940 American musical film produced and directed by Herbert Wilcox. The screenplay by Alice Duer Miller is based on the libretto of the 1919 stage musical Irene by James Montgomery, who had adapted it from his play Irene O'Dare. The score features songs with music by Harry Tierney and lyrics by Joseph McCarthy.

<i>Derby Day</i> (1952 film)

Derby Day is a 1952 British drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Googie Withers, John McCallum, Peter Graves, Suzanne Cloutier and Gordon Harker. An ensemble piece, it portrays several characters on their way to the Derby Day races at Epsom Downs Racecourse. It was an attempt to revive the success that Neagle and Wilding had previously had opposite each other, but it failed in this regard. In an effort to promote the film Wilcox arranged for Neagle to launch the film at the 1952 Epsom Derby. In the United States it was released as Four against Fate.

<i>These Dangerous Years</i>

These Dangerous Years is a 1957 British drama musical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring George Baker, Frankie Vaughan, Carole Lesley, Thora Hird, Kenneth Cope, David Lodge and John Le Mesurier.

<i>The Lady Is a Square</i>

The Lady Is a Square is a black and white 1958 British comedy musical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and featuring Anna Neagle, Frankie Vaughan and Janette Scott.

<i>Nell Gwynn</i> (1934 film)

Nell Gwynn is a 1934 British historical drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Cedric Hardwicke, Jeanne de Casalis, Miles Malleson and Moore Marriott. The film portrays the historical romance between Charles II of England and the actress Nell Gwynn. In the opening credits, the screenplay is attributed to Miles Malleson, "in collaboration with King Charles II, Samuel Pepys and Nell Gwyn." It was also released as Mistress Nell Gwyn.

<i>Limelight</i> (1936 film)

Limelight is a 1936 British musical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Arthur Tracy, Anna Neagle and Jane Winton. It was released in the U.S. as Backstage.

<i>Piccadilly Incident</i>

Piccadilly Incident is a 1946 British drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Coral Browne, Edward Rigby and Leslie Dwyer. Wilcox teamed his wife Anna Neagle with Michael Wilding for the first time, establishing them as top box-office stars in five more films, ending with The Lady with a Lamp in 1951. Wilding was third choice for leading man after Rex Harrison and John Mills.

Nicholas Phipps

Nicholas Phipps was a British actor and screenwriter who appeared in more than thirty films during a career lasting from 1938 to 1970. He was born in London and appeared mainly in British comedy films, often specialising in playing military figures. He was also a screenwriter, sometimes working on the script for films in which he acted. Best known for his collaborations with Herbert Wilcox and Ralph Thomas, Phipps wrote some of the most popular British films of all time, including Spring in Park Lane (1948) and Doctor in the House (1954). He retired from acting in 1970. His script for Doctor in the House was nominated for a BAFTA.

<i>No, No, Nanette</i> (1940 film) 1940 film by Herbert Wilcox

No, No, Nanette is a 1940 American film directed by Herbert Wilcox and based on both the 1919 stage play No, No, Nanette and the 1930 film No, No, Nanette. It was one of several films the British producer/director made with Anna Neagle for RKO studios in the U.S.

<i>Bitter Sweet</i> (1933 film) 1933 film

Bitter Sweet is a British musical romance film directed by Herbert Wilcox and released by United Artists in 1933. It was the first film adaptation of Noël Coward's 1929 operetta Bitter Sweet. It starred Anna Neagle and Fernand Gravey, with Ivy St. Helier reviving her stage role as Manon. It was made at Elstree Studios and was part of a boom in operetta films during the 1930s.

<i>Sixty Glorious Years</i>

Sixty Glorious Years is a 1938 British colour film directed by Herbert Wilcox. The film is a sequel to the 1937 film Victoria the Great.

<i>London Melody</i>

London Melody is a 1937 British musical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Tullio Carminati and Robert Douglas. It was made at British and Dominions Imperial Studios, Elstree and Pinewood Studios by Wilcox's independent production company and distributed by J. Arthur Rank's General Film Distributors. It was also released with the alternative title Look Out for Love.

<i>Three Maxims</i>

Three Maxims is a 1936 British drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Tullio Carminati and Leslie Banks. It was released in the United States under the alternative title The Show Goes On. Separate French and German language versions were filmed 1935 in Paris. The film's sets were designed by Wilcox's regular art director Lawrence P. Williams.

<i>Peg of Old Drury</i>

Peg of Old Drury is a 1935 British historical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Cedric Hardwicke and Margaretta Scott. The film is a biopic of eighteenth-century Irish actress Peg Woffington. It was based on the play Masks and Faces by Charles Reade and Tom Taylor. It contains passages of eighteenth century Shakespearian performance, from The Merchant of Venice, Richard III and As You Like It.

<i>Lilacs in the Spring</i>

Lilacs in the Spring is a 1954 British musical film starring Anna Neagle and Errol Flynn. It was the first of two movies the stars made together, the other being King's Rhapsody. It was released in the US as Let's Make Up. It was the feature film debut of Sean Connery.

References

  1. Solomon, Aubrey (15 March 2002). Twentieth Century-Fox: A Corporate and Financial History. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN   9780810842441 via Google Books.
  2. "I Live in Grosvenor Square".
  3. "Full cast and crew". IMDb.com.
  4. Patrick Morley, "This is the American Forces Network": The Anglo-American Battle of the Airwaves in World War II, (Westport, Conn: Praeger, 2001), p. 106.
  5. Chris Way, The Big Bands Go To War, (Edinburgh and London: Mainstream Publishing, 1991), p. 83.
  6. Herbert Wilcox, Twenty Five Thousand Sunsets, 1967 p 63
  7. Wilcox p 63
  8. Thumim, Janet. "The popular cash and culture in the postwar British cinema industry". Screen. Vol. 32 no. 3. p. 258.
  9. Lant, Antonia (1991). Blackout : reinventing women for wartime British cinema. Princeton University Press. p. 232.
  10. "Movie Reviews". 12 March 2020 via NYTimes.com.
  11. "A Yank In London" . Retrieved 4 June 2018.