Climbing High

Climbing High

Director: Carol Reed, Jessie Matthews, Michael Redgrave, Noel Madison

Cast: Carol Reed, Jessie Matthews, Michael Redgrave, Noel Madison

     
 

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Originally conceived as a musical (called Asking for Trouble) to showcase the talents of leading lady Jessie Matthews, Climbing High emerged as a straight romantic comedy, albeit one that sometimes sets up musical numbers that don't occur. Michael Redgrave plays Nicky Brooke, a millionaire unhappily involved with a

Overview

Originally conceived as a musical (called Asking for Trouble) to showcase the talents of leading lady Jessie Matthews, Climbing High emerged as a straight romantic comedy, albeit one that sometimes sets up musical numbers that don't occur. Michael Redgrave plays Nicky Brooke, a millionaire unhappily involved with a society dame who is primarily interested in him for his money and name. Matthews plays a beautiful young girl of limited means, Diana Castle, who works as a model (along with her roommate, Alastair Sim, portraying a communist forced to take a job as the loincloth-clad "before" picture in a muscle-building ad). While out driving, Brooke nearly runs over Diana; in the process, he falls for her but decides that he will have a better chance of getting his love returned if he courts her in disguise. Disguised as another ordinary working man, he succeeds -- until his real identity is revealed. More complications ensue -- including an escaped lunatic and a finale in which all of the characters end up climbing the Alps -- before Brooke and Diana end up together, where they always belonged.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Climbing High (1938) came at the tail-end of Jessie Matthews' first screen career, and was one of her best vehicles, a surprising result considering that it is devoid of the musical numbers that one would have expected from one of England's top dancing and singing talents of the period. What it has is a brilliantly piercing, witty script -- one worthy of a Hollywood screwball comedy -- superbly engaging acting performances by all concerned (highlighted by Alastair Sim as a would-be Communist agitator), and superb pacing. Carol Reed was only three years into his career and, based on the evidence here, was already was one of the top comedy directors in England, working so deftly that one scarcely notices the absence of the musical numbers that were planned for the film but never used or shot. In that regard, Reed succeeds where Michael Powell, working in a similar situation a little more than a decade later on The Elusive Pimpernel, from which intended musical numbers had also been removed, failed. The verbal acrobatics and the breezy pacing combine to make this one of the more entertaining British comedies of the period, with some piercing topical humor (especially about the advertising business, and political activism) that still holds today. And Matthews is a treat to watch, even in a straight (albeit comedic) acting role, supported more than ably by Tucker McGuire as her gal pal, and Michael Redgrave in a romantic part with Basil Radford providing the comic grace notes to his scenes.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/10/2015
UPC:
0644827308620
Original Release:
1938
Source:
Nostalgia Family
Sales rank:
15,300

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jessie Matthews Diana Castle
Michael Redgrave Nicky Brooke
Noel Madison Gibson
Alastair Sim Max
Mary Clare Lady Emily
Francis L. Sullivan Madman
Enid Stamp Taylor Winnie
Torin Thatcher Jim
Tucker McGuire Patsy
Basil Radford Reggie
Athole Stewart Uncle
Margaret Vyner Lady Constance

Technical Credits
Carol Reed Director
Michael Balcon Producer
Stephen Clarkson Screenwriter
Marion Dix Original Story,Screenwriter
Michael Gordon Editor
Mutz Greenbaum Cinematographer
Louis Levy Musical Direction/Supervision
Lesser Samuels Original Story,Screenwriter

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