EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|STORM IN A TEACUP (directors: Victor Saville/Ian Dalrymple; screenwriters: Ian Dalrymple/Donald Bull/James Bridie/based on Bruno Frank's play "Storm Over Patsy"; cinematographer: Mutz Greenbaum; editor: ; music: Frederick Lewis; cast: Vivien Leigh (Victoria Gow), Rex Harrison (Frank Burdon), Sara Allgood (Mrs. Hegarty), Cecil Parker (Provost William Gow), Ursula Jeans (Lisbet Skirving), Gus McNaughton (Horace Skirving), Arthur Wontner (Fiscal), Ivor Barnard (Watkins), Scruffy the Dog (Patsy), Edgar Bruce (McKellar), Robert Hale (Lord Skerryvore), Quinton MacPherson (Baillie Callender); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Victor Saville; United Arists; 1937-UK)|
doesn't travel well into modern times."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A Frank Capra-like feel-good
populist comedy/drama that's codirected by Brit director Victor Saville ("Dark
Journey"/"Kim"/"Evensong") and Ian Dalrymple. Saville came down with the flu, which kept
him off set long enough for screenwriter Ian Dalrymple to earn a
co-director credit for directing during his absence. It's regarded by some as a minor British
classic, who claim it to be the first genuine British comedy
of the sound
era. It's based on the German
play by Bruno Frank and is
written by Dalrymple,
Donald Bull and James Bridie.
It's reset from Germany to
a sleepy small town in western Scotland called Baikie. This was Rex Harrison's first starring role.
Gow (Vivien Leigh), the pretty
daughter of the wealthy provost William Gow (Cecil Parker), returns from school in
bumps into the new reporter on the local newspaper, the Englishman
Frank Burdon (Rex Harrison), as they disembark
from a ship at Baikie. Frank becomes smitten with Victoria, while she
takes notice of him. His first assignment is to interview the provost, who has joined the
Scottish Nationalist Party and aspires
to win its nomination for a seat in Parliament. During the
interview in the provost's mansion, a poor ice cream street vender Honoria Hegarty (Sara
Allgood) barges in to complain that her mongrel dog Patsy is to be
taken away from her and put down because she doesn't have enough money
for a dog license. The insensitive and pompous politician refuses to
listen to her and gives her the boot, after telling the reporter that
he's best suited for the higher office because he's willing to listen
and help his constituents.
Frank wrestles with his
conscience and knowing he'll get the sack because the newspaper head, Horace Skirving (Gus McNaughton), is the provost's best friend and chief
supporter, nevertheless gets the story into the morning paper showing
the provost to be a bullying cad. When the provost in the evening is
giving a campaign speech at town hall, he's jeered by the crowd that
greet him with imitation dog barks. The humiliated provost
swears to get his revenge on both the woman and the reporter. His
daughter who thinks dad was too harsh on the woman, still sides with
dad but wants the two men in her life to settle things before the dog
incident becomes a major issue. When the provost has Hegarty's ice
truck seized, the common folks set a number of stray dogs in the
provost's house while he meets with the chairman of the
Scottish Nationalist Party, Lord
Skerryvore (Robert Hale), to secure the nomination. The provost becomes
so humiliated, thinking Frank's behind these mob scenes, that he brings
him to court on criminal charges. But people around the country
sympathize with the pet owner and an animal rights group comes to her
Before the circus trial can
be concluded all the parties concerned learn some life lessons and
settle their differences peacefully: the provost learns about humility
and resumes his political career when he yields his hardline position;
Victoria learns that love is stronger than defending a pig-headed dad;
and Frank learns that he must act out of conviction and trust that by
doing the right thing everything will work out for the best. In the
climax, Frank and Victoria wed.
Leigh and Harrison served the screwball comedy well, but the story was so incredibly naive that it doesn't travel well into modern times. But as a counter to fascism, it at least took a subtle poke at fascism.
REVIEWED ON 9/8/2010 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ