The plot of Roberta is an old chestnut by now...young man (comic, dancer, musician, goof ball, etc--depends on which version) finds he has inherited one half of a posh fashion salon. He and his buddy go to salon to check it out, with the intent of making money either from selling it or by a promotion of one kind or another. They meet the other half owner, a gorgeous young woman. This plot was done as movies and even a TV show starring Bob Hope. This version is one of my cherished British films, actually, because it stars Michael Wilding. Wilding was wildly popular in England, long before he met and married Liz Taylor. He was usually teamed with Anna Neagle and they made several of these entertaining and fun films with place titles: Spring in Park Lane, Maytime In Mayfair, The Courtneys of Curzon Street, Picadilly Incident (a friend and I used to enjoy making up new titles for these stars--A Cuddle in the Cotswalds, Manchester Meeting, Winter in Winchester, Kissing in Kensington, etc.)
Neagle's husband produced most of Neagle's films and by teaming her with Wilding, had a good thing going for some time in the 1940s. Here Wilding is a broke aristocrat, a bit of a playboy, who intends to collect money from this inheritance, but is distracted from this when he meets the lovely co-owner, Neagle. The plot is entirely predictable, but enjoyable, all the same. He sets out to help make the salon a success so they can all make money. He and Neagle dance and romance (Wilding was marvelous at provocative little asides and quick quips), and there is a big fashion show as climax.
I always felt this couple was sort of a heavy-footed version of Astaire-Rogers. They usually began with some sort of misunderstanding or she hates him immediately or identities were mistaken, or some such device, and then all that sexual tension until they dance and romance blooms. I recommend this--not because it is a particularly good movie (it isn't), but because of Wilding's charm and wit. I adored him in British movies, and was so disappointed in his American movie career. They hadn't a clue what to do with him in the US, and so his career declined and was basically over by the time Taylor divorced him. What a shame. He made one US film, directed by Hitchcock, which gave you a hint of the charmer he had been, Stage Fright, with Jane Wyman and Marlene Dietrich.
As for Neagle, well she went on in such froth as this, long past her prime, but producer-husband Herbert Wilcox looked after her well, and she was a British favorite. She reacted well with Wilding, but I often found her bland.
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