Trottie True is a 1949 British musical comedy film directed by Brian Desmond Hurst and starring Jean Kent, James Donald and Hugh Sinclair. It was known as The Gay Lady in the US, and is a rare British Technicolour film of the period. According to the BFI Screenonline: "British 1940s Technicolor films offer an abundance of visual pleasures, especially when lovingly restored by the National Film Archive. Trottie True is not among the best known, but comes beautifully packaged, gift wrapped with all the trimmings."
|Directed by||Brian Desmond Hurst|
|Produced by||Hugh Stewart|
|Written by||Denis Freeman|
|Based on||a novel by S.J. Simon and Caryl Brahms|
|Music by||Benjamin Frankel|
|Edited by||Ralph Kemplen|
|Distributed by||General Film Distributors (UK)|
Eagle Lion (US)
|9 August 1949 (London)(UK)|
Whilst her musical hall background delights the staff it does not delight her in-laws.
However, Digby continues to go to the Gaiety Theatre and has an affair with one of the other girls - Ruby Rubato. This becomes common knowledge.
- Jean Kent – Trottie True
- James Donald – Lord Digby Landon (later Duke of Wellwater)
- Hugh Sinclair – Maurice Beckenham
- Lana Morris – Bouncie Barrington
- Andrew Crawford – Sid Skinner, the balloonist
- Bill Owen – Joe Jugg
- Michael Medwin – Marquis of Maidenhead
- Joan Young – Mrs True
- Harold Scott – Mr True
- Tony Halfpenny – Perce True
- Daphne Anderson – Bertha True
- Katharine Blake – Ruby Rubarto
- Philip Strange – Earl of Burney
- Darcy Conyers – Claude
- Josef Ramart – Monty's Chauffeur (uncredited)
- Francis de Wolff – George Edwardes
- Campbell Cotts – Saintsbury, the butler
- Harcourt Williams – Duke of Wellwater (Digby's father)
- Mary Hinton – Duchess of Wellwater (Digby's mother)
- Christopher Lee as Hon. Bongo Icklesham
- Roger Moore - stage door Johnny (uncredited)
- Hattie Jacques as Daisy Delaware, a Gaiety girl
- Ian Carmichael - as postman (uncredited)
- Patrick Cargill - as a party guest (uncredited)
- Sam Kydd "Bedford" Stage Manager (uncredited)
The exterior shots of the mansion are largely Blenheim Palace.
Producer Hugh Stewart read the story when he was recovering from jaundice. He bought the film rights and tried to finance the film through MGM, with whom Stewart had a contract. MGM did not want to make the film but Stewart got it financed at Two Cities. MGM loaned Stewart to Two Cities to produce the film.
Anthony Steel makes one of his earliest film appearances in the movie.
We were scheduled to start and I hadn't heard a word about the music, so I rang up whoever was the head of Two Cities... I finally managed to get half the music done and then I had another argument about the first number. It dissolves from the brown eyed young Trottie to the hazel eyed big Trotttie, which was hysterical. They wanted me to sing something in schottische... I said 'It's a very nice number but I come from the music halls and I tell you you cannot use a schottische at this point. So he [the music director] changed it to 6/8 time.
Kent says she also had to prevent the filmmakers from cutting away from her singing "which they used to be very fond of, in British films. The whole point of somebody singing the song is for the audience in the cinema, not the people in the movie. So I had to devise ways to keep moving all the time so they couldn't get the scissors in, particularly during the Marie Lloyd number in the ballroom scene after I'd become the duchess." Production of the film was interrupted by a strike from crew members in protest over recent sackings of film workers. Three and a half days of filming were lost due to the strike. However it was completed on schedule.
Trade papers called the film a "notable box office attraction" in British cinemas in 1949.
- The New York Times noted "the professional and romantic rise of Trottie True as depicted in "The Gay Lady", which arrived from England at the Sixtieth Street Trans-Lux on Saturday. But this Technicolored rags to riches ascent, which is interlarded with song and dance turns, is something less than original and rarely sprightly. Trottie True's tale is an old one and it hasn't worn well with the years."
- Leonard Maltin rated the film two and a half out of four stars, and called it a "lightweight costume picture...most notable aspect of film is its stunning use of Technicolor. Look fast for Christopher Lee as a dapper stage-door Johnnie."
- "BFI | Film & TV Database | TROTTIE TRUE (1948)". Ftvdb.bfi.org.uk. 16 April 2009. Archived from the original on 13 January 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- "BFI Screenonline: Trottie True (1948)". Screenonline.org.uk. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- Hale, Lionel (29 December 1946). "Red Plush". The Observer. [London (UK). p. 3.
- Homer, Louise. (7 December 1947). "Razzle-Dazzle: TROTTIE TRUE. By Caryl Brahms and S.J. Simon. 247 pp. Philadelphia, Pa.: J.B. Lippincott Co. $2.75". New York Times. p. 235.
- Brian McFarlane, An Autobiography of British Film p 545-546
- Brian McFarlane, An Autobiography of British Film p 546
- Vagg, Stephen (23 September 2020). "The Emasculation of Anthony Steel: A Cold Streak Saga". Filmink.
- Brian McFarlane, An Autobiography of British Film p 341
- "FILM STRIKE". Sunday Times. Perth. 31 October 1948. p. 12 Section: The Sunday Times Sporting Section. Retrieved 4 March 2013 – via National Library of Australia.
- "FEMININE INTEREST". Warwick Daily News (9278). Queensland, Australia. 2 May 1949. p. 3. Retrieved 26 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
- A. H. WEILER (6 November 1949). "BY WAY OF REPORT: Embassy to Drop Newsreels – Newspaper Story Draws Bids – 'Pinky' in Dixie". New York Times. p. X5.
- Robert Murphy, Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939–48 2003 p211
- "Movie Review – – THE SCREEN IN REVIEW; 'The Gay Lady,' British Film Depicting Rise of Music Hall Performer, at 60th Street Trans-Lux". NY Times. 16 April 1951. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- "Trottie True (1949) – Overview". TCM. Retrieved 15 June 2014.