Maytime in Mayfair

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Maytime in Mayfair
"Maytime in Mayfair".jpg
Directed by Herbert Wilcox
Produced byAnna Neagle
Herbert Wilcox
Written by Nicholas Phipps
Starring Anna Neagle
Michael Wilding
Music by Robert Farnon
Cinematography Mutz Greenbaum (as Max Greene)
Distributed by British Lion Films
Release date
15 August 1949
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£268,984 (UK) [1]

Maytime in Mayfair is a 1949 British musical comedy film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Nicholas Phipps, and Tom Walls. [2] It was a follow up to Spring in Park Lane . [3]


The film was one of the most popular movies at the British box office in 1949. [4] [5]


The film begins with a brief history of Mayfair then shows a man walking into a florist in Shepherd Market.

Debonair Michael Gore-Brown inherits a London fashion house: Maison Londres. Knowing nothing about business or fashion, he becomes romantically involved with its beautiful manageress, Eileen Grahame, who he says reminds him of Anna Neagle. He blithely helps himself to the petty cash to buy her lunch and brings in his ex-military cousin Sir Henry as a 'business advisor'. They are interrupted by the foppish D'Arcy Davenport, Eileen's fiance.

A nearby rival fashion house learns of Eileen's new secret collection and leaks the story to the papers. It emerges that the cousin accidentally passed the story whilst drunk. Eileen angrily quits the business to work for the rival, who now plans to buy the business at a knock-down price. When she learns that Michael is about to do this, she returns to sort out the mess, and marries him. [6]


Costume Design


The film marked the fourth teaming of Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding. [7]

After the film started shooting Tom Walls called Wilcox asking for a role. Wilcox put in a part of a policeman for the actor. [8] Filming took place in January through to March 1949. [9] Four lines of clothing were designed specifically for the film. [10] [11]


Music by Harry Parr Davies
Lyrics by Harold Purcell

Written by Gabriel Ruiz and Ricardo Lopez
English Lyrics by Sunny Skylar

Written by Bruno Bidoli, David Heneker and Don Pelosi

Written by Kermit Goell and Fred Prisker

Music by Manning Sherwin
Lyrics by Harold Purcell


Box Office

The film was hugely popular in Britain. The Motion Picture Herald said it was the third most watched film of the year after The Third Man and Johnny Belinda and more than Scott of the Antarctic, Paleface, Easter Parade, Blue Lagoon, Red River, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and The Hasty Heart. Neagle and Wilding were voted the most popular stars of the year in Britain. [12] According to Kinematograph Weekly the 'biggest winner' at the box office in 1949 Britain was The Third Man with "runners up" being Johnny Belinda, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Paleface, Scott of the Antarctic, The Blue Lagoon, Maytime in Mayfair, Easter Parade, Red River and You Can't Sleep Here. [13]

However even by December 1949 the film had not recouped its cost. [14]

Critical reception

The New York Times called the film "nauseously Technicolored flimflam"; [15] while TV Guide noted "The plot is about as simple as they come, but it's told so nicely that you can't help but be charmed. Wilding and Neagle are a sort of British Astaire and Rogers, playing well off each other in this lighthearted romp. The beautiful fashion designs, as well as glorious set decor, are well captured in the Technicolor photography." [16]

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  1. Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p489
  2. BFI Database entry
  3. MAYTIME IN MAYFAIR Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 16, Iss. 181, (Jan 1, 1949): 115.
  4. "TOPS AT HOME". The Courier-Mail . Brisbane: National Library of Australia. 31 December 1949. p. 4. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  5. Thumim, Janet. "The popular cash and culture in the postwar British cinema industry". Screen. Vol. 32 no. 3. p. 258.
  6. "Maytime in Mayfair | Film review and movie reviews". Radio Times. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  7. "THE STARRY WAY". The Courier-mail (3729). Queensland, Australia. 6 November 1948. p. 2. Retrieved 20 May 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  8. "News from the studios". The Australian Women's Weekly . 16 (32). Australia. 15 January 1949. p. 31. Retrieved 20 May 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  9. "U.K. movie producers wait for Govt, move". The Sun (12, 187). New South Wales, Australia. 17 February 1949. p. 25 (LATE FINAL EXTRA). Retrieved 20 May 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  10. "LONDON FASHION IN A FILM". The Sunday Herald (Sydney) (15). New South Wales, Australia. 1 May 1949. p. 6 (Magazine Section). Retrieved 20 May 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  11. "Parade of model gowns in new film". The Sun (2404). New South Wales, Australia. 8 May 1949. p. 5 (COLOR MAGAZINE). Retrieved 20 May 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  12. "BRITISH STUDIOS PLAN 44 FILMS". Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (22, 854). New South Wales, Australia. 31 December 1949. p. 3. Retrieved 20 May 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  13. Lant, Antonia (1991). Blackout : reinventing women for wartime British cinema. Princeton University Press. p. 232.
  14. FILM PRODUCERS' HEAVY LOSS: A Shareholder's Questions The Manchester Guardian 31 Dec 1949: 3.
  15. Crowther, Bosley (23 April 1952). "Movie Review – Maytime in Mayfair – THE SCREEN IN REVIEW". Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  16. "Maytime In Mayfair Review". Retrieved 20 June 2014.