|Spring in Park Lane|
|Directed by||Herbert Wilcox|
|Produced by||Herbert Wilcox|
|Written by||Nicholas Phipps|
|Based on||Come Out of the Kitchen|
by Alice Duer Miller
|Starring|| Anna Neagle |
|Distributed by||British Lion Film Corporation|
|17 March 1948|
|Box office||£358,788 (UK)|
Spring in Park Lane is a 1948 British romantic comedy film produced and directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding. It was the top film at the British box office in 1948 and remains the most popular entirely British-made film ever in terms of all-time attendance.
A footman, Richard, is employed by Joshua Howard, an eccentric art collector. His niece and secretary, Judy, has her doubts that Richard is the footman he pretends to be. In fact, he is Lord Brent, brother of one of Judy's suitors - George, the Marquess of Borechester.
Prior to his arrival in the Howard domestic household, Richard went to America to sell some old paintings to restore his aristocratic family's fortunes, but on the way back received a message that the cheque he was given for the paintings is invalid. Richard subsequently decided to 'hide' until he saved enough money to return to America. Over time as a footman, Judy notices how knowledgeable Richard is about many cultural things from art, poetry, music and dancing and begins to suspect he is not who he says he is. Things become interesting when his brother visits as one of Judy's suitors.
Through their various interactions, Richard and Judy fall in love, and as he is about to return to America they discover that the cheque for his family's paintings was valid after all.
Released two years after the peak year for cinema attendances in the United Kingdom,it nevertheless was substantially more successful than other contemporary releases, becoming the most successful film release of 1948 in the United Kingdom. According to Kinematograph Weekly the 'biggest winner' at the box office in 1948 Britain was The Best Years of Our Lives" with Spring in Park Lane being the best British film and "runners up" being It Always Rains on Sunday, My Brother Jonathan, Road to Rio, Miranda, An Ideal Husband, Naked City, The Red Shoes, Green Dolphin Street, Forever Amber, Life with Father, The Weaker Sex, Oliver Twist, The Fallen Idol and The Winslow Boy.
It reportedly recouped £280, 193 in the UK.
In a 2004 survey by the BFI it was rated 5th in the all-time attendance figures for the United Kingdom, with total attendance of 20.5 million, still the largest figure for a wholly British made film.Wilcox claims the film earned £1,600,000 at the British box office.
Reviews were generally positive, Variety said, "incident upon incident carry merry laughter through the picture".and The New York Times described it as "attractively witty".
A follow up, Maytime in Mayfair , was released the following year.
One memorable scene presents Tom Walls and a group of guests including (scriptwriter) Nicholas Phipps (re-christened Lord Borechester/Dorchester/Porchester at various points in the film) smoking cigars and exchanging jokes after a dinner party. Phipps' character begins an endless (and completely unfunny) would-be joke about 'Two Tommies - not in the last war - the LAST war' going back to their billets 'in the evening - after the day!'. As the joke drones on faces fall until the outraged Walls cuts in with 'Shall we join the ladies?'. The joke was briefly reprised (but never concluded) in the Wilding/Neagle follow-up 'Maytime in Mayfair' (1949) in which Walls re-appeared briefly as a policeman at the film's end. It was his last film role.
Robert Farnon provides the soundtrack, his light orchestral version of the folk tune Early One Morning proving particularly popular at the time.
Dame Florence Marjorie Wilcox, known professionally as Anna Neagle, was an English stage and film actress, singer and dancer.
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.
Peter George Wellesley Graves, 8th Baron Graves was an English actor.
Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush is a 1967 British comedy film produced and directed by Clive Donner, based on the novel of the same name by Hunter Davies. The film stars Barry Evans, Judy Geeson and Angela Scoular. It was listed to compete at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival, but the festival was cancelled due to the events of May 1968 in France.
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.
The Courtneys of Curzon Street is a 1947 British drama film starring Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding. It is a study of class division and snobbery in Britain in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
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.
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.
Elizabeth of Ladymead is a 1948 British Technicolor drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Hugh Williams, Isabel Jeans and Bernard Lee. It charts the life of a British family between 1854 and 1945 and their involvement in four wars - the Crimean War, Boer War, First World War and Second World War.
Goodnight, Vienna is a 1932 British musical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Jack Buchanan, Anna Neagle and Gina Malo. Two lovers in Vienna are separated by the First World War, but are later reunited.
The National Film Awards were the first ever national film awards held in Britain. They were sponsored by the Daily Mail newspaper with readers voting at cinemas across the country, for Best Actor, Actress, and Film. The inaugural event was held at the Dorchester Hotel, London in 1946.
Frieda is a 1947 British drama film directed by Basil Dearden and starring David Farrar, Glynis Johns and Mai Zetterling. Made by Michael Balcon at Ealing Studios, it is based on the 1946 play of the same title by Ronald Millar who co-wrote the screenplay with Angus MacPhail. The film's sets were designed by the art directors Jim Morahan and Michael Relph.
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.
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 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.
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. It was a follow up to Spring in Park Lane.
Come Out of the Pantry is a 1935 British musical film directed by Jack Raymond and starring Jack Buchanan, Fay Wray, James Carew and Fred Emney. It is based on a 1934 novel of the same name by Alice Duer Miller, and features musical numbers by Al Hoffman, Al Goodhart and Maurice Sigler.
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.
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.
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.