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Spring In Park Lane Review

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When Richard is accused of losing the family fortune, he goes into hiding in the house of Judy Howard, but risks giving himself away when he falls for her.

★★★★

Was London’s Mayfair ever really this sparsely populated, blossom-tree lined and care-free? This candy-floss concocted romantic comedy certainly makes it look like the place of dreams, and to the post-war audience that flocked to see this film – and made it the most successful British movie ever in terms of ticket sales - it must have seemed nigh perfect. Yet this languishes unjustly forgotten by its country – rarely available on video, never on DVD and hardly ever on television.

      But it’s worth seeking out because while it might be fluff, it’s highly enjoyable fluff. Anna Neagle was a phenomenon at the time, for twenty years the biggest box office star of her day. Groomed for stardom by husband/producer/director Herbert Wilcox, her pictures made the most of her limits as an actress and much of her appeal as the smart-talking, lady of the screen who could dance, sing, have a career and romance her men in a way that was believably within reach of her audience. Her pairing with the charming Michael Wilding, always an affably relaxed on-screen presence, was gold-dust, and they became the Brit equivalent of Fred and Ginger, albeit with less athletic dancing.



      The plot is entirely predictable but the ahead-of-its-time script is full of surprises including a post-modern joke about Richard looking like Michael Wilding (one that was to be repeated a year later, except in reference to Anna Neagle, in the virtual rehash of this film Maytime In Mayfair.) There’s some nice digs at the British filmstars who’ve got too big for their boots (surely not referring to Wilding’s future wife Elizabeth Taylor), especially in a scene where Richard is forced to wait upon moviestar Basil (regular Neagle/Wilcox supporting player Graves) and peppers his service with inappropriate comments.

It might be fluff but it’s highly enjoyable fluff.