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)
Production
company
Distributed by British Lion Films
Release date
15 August 1949
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
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]

Contents

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

Plot

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]

Cast

Costume Design

Production

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]

Soundtrack

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

Reception

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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<i>Dawn</i> (1928 film) 1928 film

Dawn is a 1928 British silent war film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Sybil Thorndike, Gordon Craig and Marie Ault. It was produced by Wilcox for his British & Dominions Film Corporation. The film was made at Cricklewood Studios with sets designed by Clifford Pember.

<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.

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<i>The Lady with a Lamp</i> 1951 film by Herbert Wilcox

The Lady with a Lamp is a 1951 British historical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding and Felix Aylmer. The film depicts the life of Florence Nightingale and her work with wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War.

<i>Nell Gwyn</i> (1926 film) 1926 film by Herbert Wilcox

Nell Gwyn is a 1926 British romance film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Dorothy Gish, Randle Ayrton and Juliette Compton. It was based on the 1926 novel Mistress Nell Gwyn by Marjorie Bowen and follows the life of Nell Gwynne, the mistress of Charles II. Wilcox later made a second version of the film in 1934, Nell Gwynn which starred Anna Neagle.

<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. 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". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  16. "Maytime In Mayfair Review". Movies.tvguide.com. Retrieved 20 June 2014.