Thursday, May 09, 2002


I'm a Monty Woolley fan so I was pleased to stumble across this one in my basement on a tape I had made years ago and forgot I had. It's a predictable but pleasant little movie. Woolley is a stuffy old divorced man with a son (a very young Roddy McDowell) he feels distant from. Gracie Fields (a legendary British music hall star who never really hit it big in the US) is an actress who finagles her way into the household as a maid and eventually brings all of her out-of-work acting friends into the house as servants. Of course, she messes things up but eventually proves her worth by reconciling the father and son.

Reginald Gardiner (who had a small but important part with Wooley in MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER) is wonderful as a fellow actor who is Woolley's butler. I need to see more movies with Gardiner--he steals most of the scenes he's in. Natalie Schafer (better known as Mrs. Howell from GILLIGAN'S ISLAND) was also quite good in an important supporting part, doing a Billie Burke-type of role as a rich scatterbrain. The climax, where Fields and her friends play a threatening scene designed to get Woolley out of a potential blackmail situation, feels a bit rushed and underwritten. Otherwise, a nice movie for a lazy afternoon.

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