Britannia Mews (1949)

Passed   |    |  Drama, Romance

Britannia Mews (1949) Poster

A rich woman in Victorian England marries a poor artist from the wrong side of the track, and finds herself the victim of a blackmailing plot.



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10 September 2016 | clanciai
| How the dire commitment into hazardous trial and error is ultimately and surprisingly rewarded
What a wonderful film this is! It is difficult to catalogue all its vast variations of deserts, with sudden turn of events and charming details constantly renewing and refreshing the story, which is like a Dickens novel. Maureen O'Hara is always good but here better than ever, while Dana Andrews takes you by surprise with this virtuoso performance totally out of his ordinary style, vying in charm with Robert Donat; while the prize goes to Sybil Thorndike, who makes a really frightening witch with more than one bag of evil up her sleeve, which she uses with calculation and effective impact.

It's really an environmental film depicting a slum area with exciting intrigue and characters and fascinating idylls of the gutter. It's related with another environmental London film of the same time, "London Belongs to Me" with equally convincing documentary rendering of local life in London town, but here the events take place long before the turn of the century - Bernard Shaw is mentioned as a rising star in the beginning of his career.

The miracle of the story is how a tragedy is turned to its opposite. A failed painter leaves behind the result of his secret hobby work, making puppets, and these turn out to be his real masterpiece. A really hopeless tragedy of bleak dreariness with no way out is miraculously turned into comedy by his puppets coming alive. The process of this U-turn of fate is completely natural, and a tragedy of human decay, failure, alcoholism and dishonour is suddenly reversed into a cheerful comedy - the real comedian is Maureen O'Hara's helpful brother, who understands things his own way.

The end of it is how the dreadfully sultry slum turns into a wonderland of idylls and charm in spite of all, and there, ultimately, after all the heartbreaks, the heart nevertheless will remain.

(I wrote this review previously, but it was apparently lost in a power cut. Maybe it can be retrieved. If not, here is what I could do to recreate it.)

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