14 August 2000 | Ron Oliver
Robert Taylor Invades Merrie Old England
A skilled, albeit highly egocentric young athlete becomes A YANK AT OXFORD when he accepts a scholarship to the English university. Romance and various personal problems help punch a hole through his self-conceit.
Robert Taylor gets to show-off his athletic prowess (running, rowing) in this pleasant, lightweight film. Produced by MGM's British division, it is an enjoyable look at a privileged world about to be changed forever by World War Two.
Taylor does a fine job in the title role, but he is also aided immensely by excellent co-stars from both sides of the Atlantic: Lionel Barrymore, giving another acting lesson as Taylor's peppery, loyal father; lovable Edmund Gwenn, as the long-suffering Dean of (fictional) Cardinal College, Oxford; beautiful Maureen O'Sullivan, as Taylor's English girlfriend; and enchanting Vivien Leigh, one year before her tremendous success in GONE WITH THE WIND, as a philandering young wife with an eye for male students.
Equally impressive is a gaggle of less well known British actors: stalwart Griffith Jones, as Taylor's main college rival; Robert Coote, as a cheery student forever looking for new ways to get sent down; Walter Kingsford, as a benevolent dean; ancient C. V. France as a delightfully forgetful academician; and cuddly Edward Rigby as Taylor's elderly attendant.
Claude Gillingwater appears as Barrymore's caustic banker. Movie mavens will recognize Ethel Griffies as an Oxford proctor.