Sunday, July 14, 2002


This could have been an almost perfect Ernst Lubitsch movie except for the leads. The plot involves a girl going into service for a rich British family just before WWII and how she affects people there, especially the Czech patriot who has come to England to get away from the Nazis. (For a movie made immediately after the war, it seemed to take the wartime situation rather cavalierly.) The supporting cast was great: Reginald Owen is the stuffy patriarch, Peter Lawford is his calllow but well-meaning son whose idea of doing something about Hitler is writing a letter to the Times, Richard Haydn (Max from THE SOUND OF MUSIC) is a shy druggist, Una O'Connor is his mother who never has a line of dialogue but manages to steal at least one scene just by coughing and wheezing. Reginald Gardiner has a very funny bit in the very beginning, but sadly never returns. The same with C. Aubrey Smith, who was apparently around 80 when he made the movie, but seems at least 20 years younger. The leads, Jennifer Jones and Charles Boyer, are just too leaden. They don't fizz with each other. Even though Katharine Hepburn would probably have been too old, I could imagine someone like her, opposite someone like Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart, or even Don Ameche. That might have lifted this film from good to great.

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