In this satire of British-American relations, Edward G. Robinson stars as Dan Armstrong, a hard-sell American salesman whose company sends him to England to learn how to tone down his act. There he meets some distant relatives, the aristocrats Sir Peter and Lady Challoner (Arthur Wontner and Annie Esmond). They invite him to their mansion for the weekend, where among the house guests are the penniless aristocrats the Duke and Duchess of Glenavon (Nigel Bruce and Constance Collier ) and their daughter Lady Patricia (Luli Deste), as well as a conniving stockbroker, Henry Graham Manningdale (Ralph Richardson). The Duke and Duchess own only an apparently worthless mine in Rhodesia that supposedly contains a metal called magnelite. Manningdale says that he will develop the mine in exchange for permission to marry Lady Patricia. Armstrong also has designs on Patricia, however, and he engineers a scheme to start a company and sell stock in the mine.
A fast-paced and energetic British satire which takes gentle swipes at American and British business methods, (A pertinent topic in the Depression's final years.) Stars Edward G. Robinson, ably supported by Nigel Bruce, Constance Collier, (Sir) Ralph Richardson and Viennese import Luli Deste. A Capraesque plot has recently-fired American executive Robinson traveling to England, where with nothing but moxie and hard-sell American tactics, he tries to form a mining empire, along the way falling for Luli Destre. Although the production is all-British, it has a big-budget Hollywood style conclusion. A smart script, excellent performances and slick direction produce a highly entertaining fantasy, which also is an interesting peek at how the Brits saw us in 1937.
Now for the bad news. The print is complete, but it has poor image quality with facial feature being completely washed out in some scenes. Hopefully a better version can be found someday. The audio is okay.
TEASER: See if you can spot a familiar face in the New York crowd scene. Sorry, no hints. I'm feeling ornery.
CAST NOTE: Luli Deste, though miscast here as the daughter of British aristocrats (Bruce and Collier) she overcomes it with a fine performance. Her spotty film career lasted from 1932 to 1941, during which she appeared in eleven productions. Look for her brief, unaccredited role as Queen Fria in "Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe" and its TV condensation "The Purple Death From Outer Space" (Available here at IA.)
July 16, 2011 Subject:
Acting AND action kept me entertained and a very pleasant ending for all. I am partial to movies from the 1930s and 40s, especially British. This one is a winner for me. Thanks.
ps. I spotted (Sir) Ian Carmichael in a crowd, but not in New York. He had one line to give. At least I THINK it was him.