Thursday, September 2, 2010
Irene (1940). Produced and directed by Herbert Wilcox. The screenplay by Alice Duer Miller is based on the book of the 1919 stage musical of the same name by James Montgomery, who had adapted it from his play Irene O'Dare. The score features songs with music by Harry Tierney and lyrics by Joseph McCarthy.
The film is a remake of a 1926 silent film version starring Colleen Moore.
Irene O'Dare, works as an upholsterer's assistant, where she meets wealthy Don Marshall while she is measuring chairs at the Herman Vincent estate. It is love at first sight for Don and he decides to help her career by anonymously buying Madame Lucy's, dress shop, giving her a job as a model. Don hires Mr. Smith as the manager of the shop, and soon Irene is selling dresses. Her success catches the eye of the wealthy Bob Vincent. To help promote the dress shop, Mr. Smith invites his models to a society ball held at the Vincent estate. At the ball, Irene is mistaken for Irish nobility, giving Mr. Smith an idea to help promote his collection. Mr. Smith rents her in a Park Avenue apartment and gives her diamonds and furs as she is dated by Bob.
Gossip columnist 'Biffy' Webster gets a tip about Irene from an jealous model, he prints an article about how her expensive apartment and clothes are being paid.
Angry, Irene confronts Madame Lucy where she learns that Don is the real owner of the shop. Feeling angry and betrayed, what will Irene decide to do?
I loved the art deco look. It did remind me of the Astaire/Rogers musicals, and just as charming. Although, for a musical, I wished it had more music. Still, as a comedy, "Irene" is very well done, a film worth watching.
Dame Anna Neagle, (20 October 1904 – 3 June 1986), born Florence Marjorie Robertson, was a popular English stage and motion picture actress and singer.
Neagle performed in British films for over 25 years. She was known for her glamorous and sophisticated, musicals, comedies and historical dramas. She won several awards as Britain's favourite actress. Almost all of her films were produced and directed by Herbert Wilcox, whom she married in 1943.
In her historical dramas, Neagle was renowned for her portrayals of real-life British heroines: Nell Gwynn (Nell Gwynn, 1934), Queen Victoria (Victoria the Great, 1937, and Sixty Glorious Years, 1938) and Edith Cavell (Nurse Edith Cavell, 1939).