Friday, April 07, 2017


Jane (Merle Oberon) has been taking care of her ailing grandfather and living in his large but decrepit mansion in isolated rural Yorkshire. She's been feeling sorry for herself as she has also wound up as caretaker to his servants who are either also ailing or act like it, and she thinks that life is passing her by. Freddie, the young local doctor (Rex Harrison), has taken a shine to Jane and, when the old man dies, offers to sell his practice so they can get married and move to London. But when it turns out that the grandfather has left her 18 million pounds, things change. Jane makes headlines as a "Cinderella" girl, and attracts various hangers-on who want a piece of her fortune. Freddie is turned off by all the hubhub and the two go their separate ways. He winds up in an unfulfilling job attending to rich hypochondriacs in Switzerland, and she goes to Monte Carlo and deals with gold-digging men. Of course, true love will eventually win out. This early Technicolor romantic comedy produced by Alexander Korda (then Oberon's husband) is cute but undistinguished. The plot is similar to the template that would become screwball comedy, but this is played too slowly to be mistaken for that, and the direction lacks style or fizz. Still, the leading pair is fine, and the supporting players (Ursula Jeans, Robert Douglas, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Ethel Griffies) carry some of the dead spots. [Criterion streaming]

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