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Courtneys of Curzon Street, The (DVD reissue)


Stars: Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Gladys Young, Coral Browne, Michael Medwin, Jack Watling, Daphne Slater, Bernard Lee, Helen Cherry

Director: Herbert Wilcox

The Anna Neagle-Michael Wilding romantic dramas were golddust at the British cinema in post-war years. And this welcome reissue boasts through-the-years atmosphere in its upstairs-downstairs story that, despite Wilcox's otherwise stodgy direction, matches anything coming from the other side of the Atlantic at the time.

Neagle is Katie, an Irish parlour maid at an aristocratic London home, who falls in love with, and marries Teddy, the son of the eponymous family. Pregnant, but unable to bear the slings and arrows of snobbish society acquaintances (led by a superbly bitchy Browne), she leaves him; much later she returns with their son and they're reconciled. But tragedy dogs their strengthening relationship in time of war.

Neagle sings a ditty or two nicely enough, as was her wont, when her character turns to the music-halls to make a living. Her Irish accent wavers to and fro, but she is still the heart of this film, aided by crisp black-and-white photography by Max Greene, and her fans will not be disappointed.

The Courtneys of Curzon Street lies somewhere in the middle of the Neagle-Wilding canon, above Maytime in Mayfair and Derby Day, but below the moving drama of Piccadilly Incident and the sparkling wit of Spring in Park Lane. Devotees of one of Britain's most profitable partnerships will be keeping their fingers crossed for those gems appearing on DVD in the near future.

David Quinlan

UK 1947. UK Distributor: Network Distrbuting. Black and white.
120 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 09 Sep 2013