|The Rake's Progress|
|Directed by||Sidney Gilliat|
|Written by|| Frank Launder |
Val Valentine (story)
|Produced by||Frank Launder|
|Starring|| Rex Harrison |
|Edited by||Thelma Connell|
|Music by||William Alwyn|
|Distributed by||Eagle-Lion Distributors|
|6 December 1945 (London premiere)|
|Box office||over $1 million (US rentals)|
The Rake's Progress is a 1945 British comedy-drama film.In the United States, the title was changed to Notorious Gentleman. The film caused controversy with U.S. censors of the time, who trimmed scenes for what was considered graphic amoral and sexual content.
The plot follows the career of upper-class cad Vivian Kenway (Rex Harrison). He is sent down from Oxford University for placing a chamber pot on the Martyrs' Memorial. Sent to South America after his father pulls a favour from a friend, he is fired for heckling the managing director while drunk.
A friend offers him a job, but he responds by seducing his wife and is found out. His jobs decline, as he moves from employment as racing driver to shop assistant to dancing partner. He lives a life of womanising and heavy drinking and constantly runs up large debts, which his family has to pay. One girl tries to kill herself. Driving while drunk and taking risks, he crashes and causes the death of his father, Colonel Kenway (Godfrey Tearle). Kenway is eaten up by guilt in consequence. Another girl tries to rescue him.
The plot diverges from the theme of the Rake's Progress paintings by having him redeem himself by a hero's death in World War II.
The New York Times described the film as "an oddly deceptive affair which taxes precise classification. It plays like a comedy-romance, but all the way through it keeps switching with brutal abruptness to the sharpest irony...As a consequence, a curious unevenness of emphasis and mood prevails, and initial sympathy with the hero is frequently and painfully upset";while more recently, TV Guide wrote, "the film is filled with wit and style. It does not treat its unattractive subject with sympathy, yet remains sensitive and touching."
Sir Reginald Carey "Rex" Harrison was an English actor. Harrison began his career on the stage in 1924. He made his West End debut in 1936 appearing in the Terence Rattigan play French Without Tears, in what was his breakthrough role. He won his first Tony Award for his performance as Henry VIII in the play Anne of the Thousand Days in 1949. He won his second Tony for the role of Professor Henry Higgins in the stage production of My Fair Lady in 1957.
Sidney Gilliat was an English film director, producer and writer.
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