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On Approval
     

On Approval

Cast: Beatrice Lillie, Googie Withers, Roland Culver

 

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English actor Clive Brook's only directorial effort, On Approval, is based upon Frederick Lonsdale's frothy 1926 play, though reset in the late 19th century. Brook plays George, a titled duke whose wealth has largely been spent but who has no intention of settling further into genteel poverty. George is enormously appealing to Helen (played by Googie Withers),

Overview

English actor Clive Brook's only directorial effort, On Approval, is based upon Frederick Lonsdale's frothy 1926 play, though reset in the late 19th century. Brook plays George, a titled duke whose wealth has largely been spent but who has no intention of settling further into genteel poverty. George is enormously appealing to Helen (played by Googie Withers), a good-natured American heiress, and is equally appalling to Maria (Bea Lillie), an Englishwoman of considerable means. The imperious Maria is dating the eternally devoted Richard (Roland Culver), who worships her. Maria decides that she will marry Richard -- after he spends a month with her in a secluded Scottish castle, where she will try him out "on approval." Maria, however, does not intend to discover whether they are suitable for all aspects of marriage; every night he is to row across the loch and spend his nights at a local inn. Neither Maria nor Richard will lack for company, though, as George and Helen invite themselves along. Things get complicated when it turns out that there are no rooms available at the inn, leaving the men to share the castle with the women -- a prospect that so horrifies the servants that they promptly leave the two couples high and dry. Left to their own devices, the foursome get to know each other -- and they don't necessarily like what they find.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The second filming of Frederick Lonsdale's delightful comedy of manners, this On Approval is especially noteworthy for one of the rare screen appearances of the gifted comedienne, Beatrice Lillie. Lillie was ill-used on the screen, a medium which couldn't capture her manic, pixie-ish brand of comedy. She gives what is possibly her best screen performances here; ironically, the reason it is her best is that she performs as an actress, not a comedienne. While she is undeniably funny, the role does not allow her to display her unique comic talents. Still, any Lillie is worth watching, whether she's immediately throwing away an item she has been requested to hold or attaching a pierced glare at an antagonist or demanding obedience from her almost-fiance. The rest of the cast is also quite good, with Clive Brook tossing out insults in a most delightful manner and Googie Withers making a fetching, sympathetic Helen. The script has been cut down a bit too much, and re-setting it in an earlier era than the original 1920's robs it of some of its flavor, but it retains many of Lonsdale's best lines and on the whole it's a commendable adaptation. Brook's direction is smooth, with the slightest hint of quirkiness enlivening the proceedings. On Approval would receive a British TV remounting in 1980, with Penelope Keith and Jeremy Brett.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/09/2015
UPC:
0644827804528
Original Release:
1944
Source:
Nostalgia Family
Sales rank:
26,014

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Clive Brook George, Duke of Bristol
Beatrice Lillie Maria Wislack
Googie Withers Helen Hale
Roland Culver Richard Halton
O.B. Clarence Dr. Graham
Lawrence Hanray Parkes
Elliot Mason Mrs. McCosh
Hay Petrie Landlord
E.V.H. Emmett Narrator
Marjorie Rhodes Cook

Technical Credits
Clive Brook Director,Producer,Screenwriter
William Alwyn Score Composer
Cecil Beaton Costumes/Costume Designer
Sydney Box Producer
Claude Friese-Greene Cinematographer
Frederick Lonsdale Screenwriter
Muir Mathieson Musical Direction/Supervision
Fergus McDonell Editor
Tom Morahan Art Director
Terence Young Screenwriter

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