I Live in Grosvenor Square

I Live in Grosvenor Square is a British comedy-drama romance war film directed and produced by Herbert Wilcox. It was the first of Wilcox's "London films" collaboration with his wife, actress Anna Neagle. Her co-stars were Dean Jagger and Rex Harrison. The plot is set in a context of US-British wartime co-operation, and displays icons of popular music with the purpose of harmonising relationships on both sides of the Atlantic.[2] An edited version was distributed in the United States, with two additional scenes filmed in Hollywood, under the title A Yank in London.

I Live in Grosvenor Square
I Live in Grosvenor Square FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed byHerbert Wilcox
Produced byHerbert Wilcox
Written byMaurice Cowan (story)
William D. Bayles
Arvid david
Nicholas Phipps
StarringAnna Neagle
Rex Harrison
Dean Jagger
Robert Morley
Music byAnthony Collins
CinematographyMutz Greenbaum
Otto Heller
Production
company
Associated British Picture Corporation
Herbert Wilcox Productions
Distributed byAssociated British Picture
20th Century Fox
Release date
  • 15 May 1945 (1945-05-15) (London)
  • 3 September 1945 (1945-09-03) (United Kingdom)
  • 3 March 1946 (1946-03-03) (United States)
Running time
114 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Box office$1 million (US)[1]

PlotEdit

In the summer of 1943, after he is taken off combat operations for medical reasons, American SSgt John Patterson (Dean Jagger), an Army Air Force gunner, is billeted in the London home of the Duke of Exmoor (Robert Morley) in London's Grosvenor Square. He is befriended by the Duke and British paratrooper Major David Bruce (Rex Harrison), who has taken leave to contest a parliamentary by-election.

On a weekend visit to the duke's estate near Exmoor in Devon, Patterson meets the duke's granddaughter, Lady Patricia Fairfax (Anna Neagle), a corporal in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, who is David's childhood sweetheart. After a cool beginning based on cultural misunderstandings, they fall in love. David is unaware of what is happening until the final night before the election, when it becomes clear to him during a party on the estate. The next day, the duke learns that his estate has been appropriated by the American army for a base and that David has lost the election.

When Patterson realizes that Pat and David have long expected to marry, he contrives to obtain medical clearance to go back to combat duty. David and Pat have an ugly showdown over Patterson, only to learn that he has gone back to war. David realises that Pat still loves Patterson and arranges for them to reunite. Returning from a mission with heavy battle damage, Patterson attempts to help his pilot land their B-17 Flying Fortress at an emergency landing strip at Exmoor, but is killed when the bomber stalls as they manoeuvre to avoid crashing in the village. The duke and his family mourn Patterson at a memorial service in the village church, while David takes off with his paratroop unit to parachute into France on D-Day.

CastEdit

Notable supporting players included Charles Victor, Ronald Shiner, Percy Walsh, Brenda Bruce, Shelagh Fraser, John Slater, Alvar Lidell, David Horne, Robert Farnon and Carroll Gibbons.[3]

The Canadian Band of the AEF appears with bandleader/arranger Captain Robert Farnon.[4] They filmed their sequence in late 1944.[5]

ReceptionEdit

Wilcox later said Rex Harrison was the greatest actor whom he had ever directed "without a doubt".[6] He planned on making more films with Harrison but the actor received a contract offer from 20th Century Fox and left for Hollywood.[7]

Box OfficeEdit

The film was popular at the British box office.[8] According to Kinematograph Weekly the 'biggest winners' at the box office in 1945 Britain were The Seventh Veil, with "runners up" being (in release order), Madonna of the Seven Moons, Old Acquaintance, Frenchman's Creek, Mrs Parkington, Arsenic and Old Lace, Meet Me in St Louis, A Song to Remember, Since You Went Away, Here Come the Waves, Tonight and Every Night, Hollywood Canteen, They Were Sisters, The Princess and the Pirate, The Adventures of Susan, National Velvet, Mrs Skefflington, I Live in Grosvenor Square, Nob Hill, Perfect Strangers, Valley of Decision, Conflict and Duffy's Tavern. British "runners up" were They Were Sisters, I Live in Grosvenor Square, Perfect Strangers, Madonna of the Seven Moons, Waterloo Road, Blithe Spirit, The Way to the Stars, I'll Be Your Sweetheart, Dead of Night, Waltz Time and Henry V.[9]

CriticalEdit

Critic Bosley Crowther wrote in The New York Times, "There is much that is admirable about A Yank in London, and the glimpses of Irene Manning singing for the boys at the Rainbow Corner in Piccadilly will stir memories. But the picture, like the script, is diffuse, and Mr. Wilcox in his direction permits scenes to dissolve in a rambling, confusing style";[10] while more recently TV Guide called it "An entertaining but overlong romance."[11]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey (15 March 2002). Twentieth Century-Fox: A Corporate and Financial History. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9780810842441 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "I Live in Grosvenor Square".
  3. ^ "Full cast and crew". IMDb.com.
  4. ^ Patrick Morley, "This is the American Forces Network": The Anglo-American Battle of the Airwaves in World War II, (Westport, Conn: Praeger, 2001), p. 106.
  5. ^ Chris Way, The Big Bands Go To War, (Edinburgh and London: Mainstream Publishing, 1991), p. 83.
  6. ^ Herbert Wilcox, Twenty Five Thousand Sunsets, 1967 p 63
  7. ^ Wilcox p 63
  8. ^ Thumim, Janet. "The popular cash and culture in the postwar British cinema industry". Screen. Vol. 32 no. 3. p. 258.
  9. ^ Lant, Antonia (1991). Blackout : reinventing women for wartime British cinema. Princeton University Press. p. 232.
  10. ^ "Movie Reviews". 12 March 2020 – via NYTimes.com.
  11. ^ "A Yank In London". Retrieved 4 June 2018.

External linksEdit