The Courtneys of Curzon Street

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The Courtneys of Curzon Street
"The Courtneys of Curzon Street" (1947).jpg
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Directed by Herbert Wilcox
Produced by George Maynard
Herbert Wilcox
Written byFlorence Tranter (story)
Nicholas Phipps
Starring Anna Neagle
Michael Wilding
Music by Anthony Collins
Cinematography Mutz Greenbaum
Edited byVera Campbell
Flora Newton
Herbert Wilcox Productions (as Imperadio)
Distributed by British Lion Films(UK)
Release date
  • 11 April 1947 (1947-04-11)
Running time
120 minutes (UK)
112 minutes (US)
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office₤317,836 (UK) [1]

The Courtneys of Curzon Street (also titled The Courtney Affair or Kathy's Love Affair, in the U.S.) 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.


The film is one of the most seen British films of all time, with 15.9 million tickets sold at the cinema. [2]


Edward Courtney, the son of a baronet shocks class-conscious 1900 British society by marrying Kate, his Irish servant. The film chronicles 45 years in their lives together and apart, through the Boer War and World War I and World War II.

The family live on Curzon Street a high class street in the Mayfair district of London.

Kate begins to feel the awkwardness at a musical recital before Queen Victoria, where all the "true ladies" are staring at her. Later she hears gossip about herself.

Edward is an officer in the Horse Guards but Kate does not realise he cannot return her wave when he is on duty. She packs her bags and leaves without telling Edward. She returns to Ireland then develops an idea to be an actress, adopting the stage name of "May Lynton".

Meanwhile Edward goes in India where he accidentally finds the truth as to why she left.

Kate takes up her career as a singer in the theatre. Her father-in-law visits her backstage and gives her an update whilst trying to retain her separate identity. He says his wife is now dead... she missed her son and his wife too much. Kate also updates him, saying her father was killed at the Battle of Spion Kop.

The First World War starts and Edward returns from India and finds Kate. She confesses they have a son, also called Edward (Teddy). They go to visit him at his boarding school. The absence has been long as he is around 12 years old. They go out for high tea and discuss cricket and the new Rupert Brooke poem "The Soldier". The war ends.

Edwards father dies and he inherits the baronetcy. Kate becomes Lady Courtney.



It was originally known as Scarlet and Pure Gold. [3] The film was produced at the Shepperton Film Studios in Surrey. The title was changed when the film was released in the U.S. and in other countries', having been screened in many European countries and Scandinavia.


Box office

It was the most popular film at the British box office for 1947. [4] [5] [6] According to Kinematograph Weekly the 'biggest winner' at the box office in 1947 Britain was The Courtneys of Curzon Street, with "runners up" being The Jolson Story, Great Expectations, Odd Man Out, Frieda, Holiday Camp and Duel in the Sun. [7]

Critical reception

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  1. Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000
  2. Channel 4, top 100 film audiences (17th)
  3. C.A. LEJEUNE (25 August 1946). "BUSY DAYS IN LONDON: Film Studios Move Into High Gear, With Full Schedule of Pictures Under Way Films Coming Up In Father's Footsteps Notes in Brief". New York Times. p. 51.
  4. "Anna Neagle Most Popular Actress". The Sydney Morning Herald . 3 January 1948. p. 3. Retrieved 24 April 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "JAMES MASON 1947 FILM FAVOURITE". The Irish Times. 2 January 1948. p. 7.
  6. Thumim, Janet. "The popular cash and culture in the postwar British cinema industry". Screen. Vol. 32 no. 3. p. 258.
  7. Lant, Antonia (1991). Blackout : reinventing women for wartime British cinema. Princeton University Press. p. 232.
  8. "Courtneys of Curzon Street, The". Film4. 5 January 2010. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  9. H. H. T. (3 July 1952). "Movie Review – The Courtney Affair – THE SCREEN IN REVIEW; Two British Imports, Combined in Double Bill, Open at Beacon and Midtown Theatres". Retrieved 28 July 2014.