The Reluctant Debutante

( 3 )

Overview

The Reluctant Debutante is a vintage example of the sort of elegant, witty "polite" comedy that Hollywood used to pull off so well. Real-life husband and wife Rex Harrison and Kay Kendall are cast as newly wed Jimmy and Sheila Broadbent, two of London's more attractive aristocrats. Jimmy has a daughter, Jane Sandra Dee, from a previous marriage; though the girl is dead set against it, Jimmy insists that Jane make her society debut in London. Daddy wants his darling daughter to meet the "right" kind of husband, ...
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DVD (Remastered)
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Overview

The Reluctant Debutante is a vintage example of the sort of elegant, witty "polite" comedy that Hollywood used to pull off so well. Real-life husband and wife Rex Harrison and Kay Kendall are cast as newly wed Jimmy and Sheila Broadbent, two of London's more attractive aristocrats. Jimmy has a daughter, Jane Sandra Dee, from a previous marriage; though the girl is dead set against it, Jimmy insists that Jane make her society debut in London. Daddy wants his darling daughter to meet the "right" kind of husband, but she's more interested in handsome-but-shady American musician David Parkson John Saxon. Little does anyone know that David, secretly a titled millionaire, is actually the prize catch of the season. The matchless Kay Kendall manages to walk away with the picture, though she's given a run for her money by fifth-billed Angela Lansbury. The Reluctant Debutante was based on the play by William Douglas Home.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Any picture which gives the lovely, uniquely talented Kay Kendall an opportunity to bubble across the screen is worth watching, and The Reluctant Debutante is no exception. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what made Kendall such a special performer. Was it her grace? Her charm? Her timing? Her fascinating facial features (a combination of swooping lines and sharp angles)? Her ability to take a single word (sometimes a single syllable) and give it a little life all its own? Whatever it is, it's on full display here -- and that fact makes it all the more remarkable that both Rex Harrison (all suave urbanity) and Angela Lansbury (all delightful bitchiness) not only keep up with her but sometimes manage to give her a run for her money. Vincente Minnelli's direction is efficient rather than inspired, but he does frame his two leads in the most flattering manner possible (Balmain's gowns are especially stunning) -- and he gets plenty of opportunity to indulge his trademark obsessions with colors and fabrics. If all concerned had been working from a more inspired screenplay, the result could have been a genuine classic rather than an amusing trifle; however, with Kendall (and company) on hand, what viewer wouldn't be willing to overlook the thinness of the screenplay?
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/18/2011
  • UPC: 883316311509
  • Original Release: 1958
  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Presentation: Remastered
  • Time: 1:34:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 9,859

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Rex Harrison Jimmy Broadbent
Kay Kendall Sheila Broadbent
John Saxon David Parkson
Sandra Dee Jane Broadbent
Angela Lansbury Mabel Claremont
Diane Clare Clarissa Claremont
Peter Myers David Fenner
Charles Cullum English Colonel
Ambrosine Phillpotts Secretary
Sheila Raynor Maid
Technical Credits
Vincente Minnelli Director
Pierre Balmain Costumes/Costume Designer
Pandro S. Berman Producer
Robert Christides Set Decoration/Design
Jean D'Eaubonne Art Director
Adrienne Fazan Editor
William Douglas Home Screenwriter
Helen Rose Costumes/Costume Designer
Joseph Ruttenberg Cinematographer
Jean-Paul Ulysse Makeup
Eddie Warner Score Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Careful and Wise Debutante

    "The Reluctant Debutante" is a great movie about two women who want to marry off their daughters to men that belong to the financially elite class of England. Kay Kendall plays concerned stepmother Sheila Broadbent to Sandra Dee's character of her cautious stepdaughter Jane Broadbent. Angela Lansbury plays the clever patriarch Mabel who also wants to match her daughter Clarissa (played by Diane Claire) with a bachelor from the upper class. I label Jane Broadbent's character as shrewdly cautious because her stepmother tries to at first hook her up with a man by the name of David Fenner (played by Peter Myers). Jane is little interest in David Fenner, and is actually ends up falling in love with David Parkson (played by John Saxon). The problem with this is that her family mistakenly takes David Parkson to have a reputation as a womanizer, when it is actually David Fenner. In addition, Sheila Broadbent at first has no idea of the true status of David Parkson. Sheila Broadbent initially tries to match her stepdaughter with David Fenner, but eventually backs off when Jane Broadbent makes it clear that she is in love with Mr. Parkson. There are frequent movie scenes various high society dance balls in order to paint a clearer picture of what the two mothers are doing in order to match their children with their future husbands. "The Reluctant Debutante" is a good film to watch if you enjoy watching films about the aristocratic classes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2011

    Great Cast=Great Entertainment

    I've waited for this movie a long time. Sandra,Rex,Kay,John are
    great together. Add Angela Lansbury and you're off. We want more
    Sandra Dee movies released on dvd. Why do we have to wait so long?
    They are really good movies. I met her when I was a kid. She and
    James Stewart promoted their movie. She was everything to kids my
    age. More, More, More.......PLEASE!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews