1 May 2018 | SimonJack
Wonderful British comedy with wily Michael Wilding
One knows that "Maytime in Mayfair" is going to be a very funny comedy from the crazy credits at the start of the film.
Although it's billed as a musical and romance, this is first and foremost a comedy. And a smashing one at that. Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding are the leads as Eileen Grahame (that's, with an "E") and Michael Gore-Brown. They have just a few short dance numbers, and these appear almost as an afterthought in dreams. They are okay, but the film without them would be as good or better as a first rate comedy romance.
The film has a fine supporting cast, especially in Peter Graves as D'Arcy Davenport and Nicholas Phipps as Sir Henry Hazelrigg. One knows right away that there's romance in store for the chemistry between Eileen and Michael. The comedy comes mostly from Michael. Wilding is at his wily best in this rapid-fire witty script. This film has a very good plot and a superb screenplay. If anything, one wonders if Wilding did some ad-libbing with his lines. At times they are so fast and low in volume that's it's difficult to catch all the words.
The setting for most of the film is the posh Mayfair district of London, where Michael has just inherited an exclusive women's dress shop. Actually, it's the top fashion shop in London. Having some connection to title, but being nearly broke, Michael has had to get along lately sponging off his cousin, Sir Henry Hazelrigg. When Michael inherits the dress shop, Henry advises him to sell in order to once again be able to support his easy lifestyle. But, on meeting the shop's beautiful "manageress," Miss Eileen Grahame (with an "E"), Michael instead decides that he and cousin Henry will be partners and continue in the "rag" trade.
The fun starts a little before this, but it gears up at this point. This is a wonderful English comedy. Produced and directed by Neagle's husband, Herbert Wilcox, it's one of several films that Neagle and Wilding made together. This is a sequel to "Spring in Park Lane" of 1948. Although Neagle has top billing and is very good, this is one of several films that shows the comedic abilities of Michael Wilding. His comedy persona and style are similar to those of another Englander who became much more famous on the silver screen after moving to America - Cary Grant. But Wilding had all around talent and could act in drama, mystery and other genres as well.
Others not from England might be interested to know that Mayfair is the most exclusive district in London. It's located on the East side of Hyde Park and North of Buckingham Palace. The Covent Garden district borders it to the East and southeast.
Here are some favorite lines from this film. For more funny dialog, see the Quotes section under this IMDb Web page of the movie.
Michael, as Lady Manbury walks off in a huff, "I mean, I'm so sorry that no one ever insulted you before."
Eileen, "It might interest you to know that her name is Lady Manbury-Logan-Manbury." Michael, "Oh. It may interest you to know that my name is mud."
Lady Leveson, "Won't you sing just one more song for me? Just a little one?" D'Arcy Davenport, "Oh, my voice is so tired. You really must excuse me." Lady Leveson, "Oh, of course. We mustn't overwork that glorious organ of yours, must we?"
Eileen, "Well, I think you'll be more comfortable in the office." Michael, "I don't think so. You see, I'm a little bit scared of meeting the old battle-ax." Eileen, "What old battle-ax?" Michael, "Oh, the manageress." Eileen, "Oh, I see. Oh well, follow me." Michael, "Oh, I suppose it's best to get it over with"
Eileen, referring to D'Arcy, "Extremely good dressmaker." Michael, "Sweeney Todd wasn't a bad barber."
Michael, lunging into a taxi beside Eileen, "Hello. Mind if I share your taxi?" Eileen, "You haven't given me much choice, have you? Where can I drop you?" Michael, "Oh, I don't wanna be dropped." Eileen, "Don't you?" Michael, "No. That's why I'm here." Eileen, "Then you can drop me." Michael, "Oh, that's not a good idea either.
Henry Hazelrigg, "Imagine turning up to ride an elephant in suede shoes."
Michael, "I think you have a friend of mine in cold storage." Inspector Hennessey, "Oh, he's a friend of yours, is he? I had to put him in the cells. It was the only way to stop him from talking. Bring the body in here, officer."
Henry, "A direct descendent of old Clam Chowder, a blabber and a fifth columnist. If this comes out, you know. I shall be ruined."
D'Arcy Davenport, "Eileen. Did my eyes deceive me, or did that fellow actually kiss you?" Eileen, "There's nothing wrong with your eyesight, D'Arcy."