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  • 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.
  • didi-525 October 2000
    Anna Neagle may have been a bit old for this sort of thing by 1949, but it is certainly a fun movie, as her fashion house is inherited by the rather silly Mr Gore-Brown (Wilding) and in competition with the even sillier D'Arcy Davenport. The colours are vivid, the situations progressively dafter, and the film quietly grows on you. They certainly don't make 'em like this now!
  • A piece of froth from post war Britain. Its chief interest nowadays is that it is so evocative of the gentitlity and manners which used to be an integral part of British life and now isn't. It is never a good idea for a successful series to grow self-indulgent as the Neagle/Wilcox series was by this time. At one stage Wilding describes the leading lady as "putting one in mind of Anna Neagle" and elsewhere Graves is divested of a "Michael Wilding Fan Club" card by the policeman. However it is well photographed, the dance numbers still stand up well and all in all it is a nice way to pass a couple of hours.
  • I first saw this film over 25 years ago on British TV and have only just caught up with it again last week on a DVD copy bought off ebay. I had remembered the musical sequences, the colour and the gorgeous fashion plate poses and clothes but the plot is weaker than the earlier Anna Neagle/Michael Wilding film Spring in Park Lane and Maytime doesn't stand up so well to the passage of the years. But Michael Wilding is a joy in the film, charming, funny, debonair, appears to be having great fun and on top of his form. Worth watching for him alone. Anna Neagle appears a little matronly beside him, and a little too old for the part she plays but by the end of the 1940's their film partnership was well established with the cinema going public. Spring in Park Lane had been a top hit for 1947 and a big money maker. In his autobiography Wilding wrote at length of his great regard for Herbert Wilcox the director and instigator of this London series of films.
  • 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."
  • SPRING IN PARK LANE had been such a success that producer-director Herbert Wilcox and star/wife Anna Neagle reassembled the cast and crew for this similarly named effort. It begins much like IRENE -- Wilcox and Neagle had made the 1940 screen version. Michael Wilding has inherited a dress business and is ready to sell it, until he meets manager/designer Anna, falls in love instantly and decides to help run the business while he pursues her.

    There's a lot more comedy in this movie than the previous year's smash success. Wilding mugs outrageously and competitor Peter Graves tries to sing on a couple of occasions. Two dance numbers show up and the whole movie is shot in Best British Technicolor, which is also used to offer a brief fantasy fashion show It also contains Tom Walls last screen performance, as an Irish bobby. In the 1930s he starred in several of the Aldwych farces, transferred from stage to screen. In the 1940s, he moved into major supporting roles. He died a few months after this was released.
  • bkoganbing24 September 2018
    Of the six films that Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding made as a team this is the only one in color. Good thing too because for some of the dream sequences and/or musical numbers it was surely necessary.

    Maytime In Mayfair finds Wilding a charming but broke aristocrat (apparently Wilding specialized in those roles) who finds he's an inherited a posh dress shop which caters to the aristocracy of which he's one of the poorer members till recently. First instinct is to sell the place, but after meeting Anna Neagle the store manager who runs the places and does some of the designs. Soon enough Wilding has designs on her and that plays into him trying to make a go of the business.

    Some nice sequences every bit as good as what was done on this side of the pond with the music, dance, and fashion sequences. Neagle and Wilding have more British charm than you'll see this side of David Niven.

    Wilding's rival for the business and Neagle's affections is Peter Graves who is a real snake in the grass, not above a little espionage to steal Neagle's designs. In that he's aided and abetted by Wilding's friend Nicholas Phipps who gets riotously drunk and spills the beans without knowing it.

    If you like your British cinema escapist and entertaining than Maytime In Mayfair is for you.
  • The reference above to Sir Stafford Cripps in the opening foreword passes for satire in so light a confection; but also reminds you why there was a need for this sort of escapist fantasy seventy years ago, with 'Mr. Austerity' in No.11 Downing Street.

    Ravishingly shot in Technicolor and with clothes that probably consumed much of the film's budget; it's otherwise played out in sets by William C.Andrews that look as if they'd fall over if you blew on them (it relocates to Paris for a few minutes courtesy of one hotel room and an incredibly phony-looking 'outdoor' restaurant), and the wind never disturbs the branches of any of any of the trees that adorn the very occasional studio exteriors.

    Never mind, material this slight doesn't offend the way that Wilcox's flat-footed direction of more 'serious' subject matter does. Michael Wilding is fun overacting like crazy as a conceited jerk, Thora Hird is permitted to look incredibly glamorous as Neagle's secretary; and it provides a unique opportunity to see "our old friend" Tom Walls in Technicolor playing an Irish police inspector presiding over a station so minimal it could have been designed for 'Dr Mabuse'.
  • Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding made 7 films together. At their best, they were paired in glossy, stylish musical comedies like MAYTIME IN MAYFAIR, which is a remake of ROBERTA.

    Here, Wilding plays a penniless charmer who inherits a dress shop. The shop is managed by stylish but aloof Anna Neagle. He knows nothing about clothes but is instantly smitten. Along for the ride is his friend (Nicholas Phipps) who gets drunks and divulges details of the fall collection to a rival (Peter Graves) who insists on singing all the time.

    After the papers break the news of the new fashions, Neagle takes off in a snit with Graves, leaving Wilding to fail and sell the business. Will things get straightened out? The film's highlights are two musical dream sequences. In one, Wilding imagines the beautiful Neagle as a famous model. In the other, Neagles imagines a slow-motion dance with Wilding. Bother are well done. There's also a big fashion show sequence with all the major London designers represented.

    Neagle and Wilding are a perfect team. Neagle has a regal beauty, a good sense of humor and a decent singing and dancing talent. Wilding has a goofy charm that goes well with Neagle's icy demeanor and also dances well. They were hugely popular with British audiences in the 40s and 50s. Phipps is fun as the dopey friend but was also an accomplished director and writer (he wrote the script for this film).

    Co-stars include Tom Walls as the inspector, Thora Hird as Janet, Mona Washbourne as Lady Levenson, and Colette Melville as Priscilla.

    Fun film. Listen closely to Wilding's jokey asides. Funny!
  • Isn't anybody going to talk about the couturiers? I think I've read all of the user reviews and I find it peculiar that the one thing that this Roberta remake has that sets it apart from the others is that for some reason they have nine or 10 different dress designers including some of the most famous in Europe yet nobody mentions this. It seems to me there must have been a reason why that was done and I would love to know what that could possibly be. There are some very pretty clothes and some that show the worst excesses of the late 1940s but a comparable Hollywood movie such as the original Roberta in Hollywood seems to be able to manage with just Bernard Newman and his staff. And that movie features some beaded gowns that clearly involved hundreds of hours of work. I would just like to know why this movie has this embarrassment of riches because it doesn't seem to be unusually elaborate or excessive. Just saying.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This was also a Micheal Wilding vehicle.This was before he married Elizabeth Taylor and did American films in the united states.I also just learned that this was the first color film to be broad cast in color t.v. in 56 at Philadelphia.When I saw that a company called nostalgia was releasing this in the united states I guess that it might not be a remastered digital print.I was right .It was an analog video tape print that was used for the VHS version back in the 90's.It's still a good print.The colors are excellent ,jut not sharp.It was produced by Anna's husband ,but also with her help.It's a light comedy love story and plot with some music and dance.It'like Anna's Irene and then Roberta and the Vogues of 1938 plus that Better Davies and William Powell film,"The fashions of 1934.It does have fantasy dancing sequences,since she was a dancer too,It seems in the beginning when she introduction the fashion of possibly 1950,possibly,she is wearing the same gown she wore in the 1940 version of Irene,but ,slightly alternate color.In the second dream sequence,she is dancing with a white gown with a bunch of male suite dancers,but, she changes to the same costume.Michael Wilding dances too in another day dream sequence ,when she is imagining him and her in a slow motion ball room type dancing ,as in reality ,she has decide to join Peter Graves in his fashion business ,but ,she is not sure about it.It's obviously in Britain Michale Wilding was a Matinée idol ,at the time.It's like the Roberta story.Poor Michael inherits a fashion shop from one of his late of h his living cousins ,played by Nicholas Phipps,insist he ought to sell it.Michael falls for Anna and wants to continue the store.The next door neighbor fashion shop ,owned by Peter Graves,wants to put Anna's shop out of business.He persuades his female clientele by singing the English version of the Spanish song.", Amour ,with his piano.Later on he gets Michael's cousin drunk ,in the gentleman club.You see him at he police where Mike's cousin has been charge with disorderly conduct,but,You don't see Peter Graves at the police station as well.Should Peter have been arrested too?Drunk and disorderly in a bar?there's a joke in which the police sarcastically states Mikes cousin must be Michael Wilding fan.Darcy Davenport fails to shut Anna shop down.If this movie was remastered for digital it would be probably only sold in England ,unless the American company willing to pay the fee.Better than nothing .Great British entertainment. 05/6/17
  • jromanbaker18 December 2019
    Having watched Godard the same day and finding a masterpiece I was obliged to watch this nonsense with a friend. I thought I will endure it as it has colour, but that added to the mistake of watching it at all. The colour was dire and as there were terrible dresses to show off Wilcox must have thought I will give them something extra. I notice that the others in this ridiculous cycle with titles like ' The Courtneys of Curzon Street ' did not have that honour. I give it 2 stars for bravery that Anna Neagle endured yet again a snobbishly conservative film. Was it popular at the time ? Maybe in times of austerity, a housing shortage and rationing it may have been a fantasy worth seeing. After all the censors had been in an uproar in the UK over the inoffensive ' No Orchids For Miss Blandish ' and perhaps these sort of films were an act of penance. Anna Neagle deserved better and occasionally got it. I just wish she had worked more with other directors.
  • No doubt Michael Wilding had his fans at the time (and even now) but for me he is trading on a charm doesn't in fact possess in this story. To be fair I am saying story rather than performance because the silliness really is at the story and script level, and Wilding is delivering what is required by both. By virtue of an unexpected inheritance he breaks in on the Neagle character's successful fashion business and he and his buddy set about spoiling it in small ways and then a large way. His behaviour is insensitive and irritating but clearly is intended to be accepted as whimsical and charming, and eventually irresistible to Neagle. A real person with self-respect would have socked him and walked off the job well before she does in this film. I was born the year after this film was made, and so I have had a good chance to observe how much attitudes to women have changed - or not changed as much as they should. I can see presented uncritically in this film some of the fundamental disrespect of women which is still so toxic to our culture today. In between repeatedly muttering "that ain't funny" I did enjoy some of the aspects of this film (eg the costumes). Neagle does a respectable job of her dancing although I take it the dancing in the major dance sequences is done by a lookalike double. In closeups she is heavily painted and clearly is no spring chicken. Yet her character is described as a "girl". She is a lovely, dignified and ladylike woman, and very credible as a successful businessperson, which many might think is better than being a girl.
  • I agree with the general comments of all mentioned above, especially Marilyn Henry's witty remarks.Yes, Anna Neagle was too old for the leading lady part, most noticeable in her close-ups but remember her husband Herbert Wilcox was the producer.The "in" jokes are there again where the leading lady & man joke that their stage characters remind them of their real selves, (see "Spring in Park Lane" (1948) a companion to this film).

    On the plus side it is in glorious colour and the fact the plot is set in a late 1940s fashionable Mayfair lady's clothes salon gives the director an opportunity to show fashion models literally stepping out of the pages of contemporary fashion journals.That scene reminded me of "Cover Girl" (1945) with Rita Hayworth & Gene Kelly, when glamorous models likewise appear and step out of American fashion magazines.Nice to see a young Thora Hird playing a secretary and Tom Walls playing a policeman.Its a harmless bit of froth and in my opinion only worth 5/10.The actors in "Spring in Park Lane" were effectively reprising their roles, especially the slow motion dancing of Dame Anna with Michael Wilding

    Likewise Peter Graves and Michael Wilding's cousin "once removed" are reprising their almost identical role in "Spring in Park Lane".