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The Reluctant Debutante (1958)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 25 December 1958 (Brazil)
A teenage American girl while visiting her father, is thrown into London society during the "Debutante Season".

Director:

Vincente Minnelli

Writers:

William Douglas-Home (screen play) (as William Douglas Home), William Douglas-Home (play) (as William Douglas Home)
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Rex Harrison ... Jimmy Broadbent
Kay Kendall ... Sheila Broadbent
John Saxon ... David Parkson
Sandra Dee ... Jane Broadbent
Angela Lansbury ... Mabel Claremont
Peter Myers Peter Myers ... David Fenner
Diane Clare ... Clarissa Claremont
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Storyline

Upon her banking executive father, Lord Broadbent ("Jimmy"), remarrying who is now the second Lady Broadbent ("Sheila"), seventeen year old Jane Broadbent, who has been living in the States with her American mother since the divorce, pays her father in London a visit so that she can meet Sheila. Jane's visit coincides with it being "the season" in London: when all the society debutantes hold their balls to "come out" as being ready to find a suitable mate and marry. Sheila, as her first act of being Jane's British stepmother, wants Jane to come out along with all her British peers. Sheila believes that someone like if not David Fenner himself, he a guard at Buckingham Palace, would be a suitable mate for Jane. In attending some of the earlier season balls, Jane not only finds David Fenner a drip, but she also does not want to step on the toes of her first true friend in London, Clarissa Claremont, who is in love with Fenner himself. Fenner, in turn, doesn't seem to know that Clarissa ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Such Wonderful Screen Fun! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 1958 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

Mamá nos complica la vida See more »

Filming Locations:

Paris, France

Company Credits

Production Co:

Avon Productions (II) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Perspecta Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The only film Rex Harrison and Kay Kendall made together during their marriage. Kendall sadly passed away from cancer the following year at the age of 33. See more »

Goofs

Early in the film, Clarissa and Jane ask their parents (Jimmy & Sheila Broadbent and Mabel Claremont) to be let off at the "Changing of the Guard" to take photos. They are let off to walk home afterward, however Jane just arrived from the United States and neither girl has been to the Broadbent's flat before. See more »

Quotes

Sheila Broadbent: Jimmy, if she brings him up here for a drink, she'll know we've been waiting up for her.
Jimmy Broadbent: And so we have.
Sheila Broadbent: But, darling, she musn't. Psychologically, it's wrong to let her see we're worried. You see, even if she isn't interested in David Parkson, she thinks we'd be against it if she was, she will be.
Jimmy Broadbent: She was, she will be?
Sheila Broadbent: No, darling, she mustn't know. We must wait up for her, don't you see?
Jimmy Broadbent: But, Jane...
Sheila Broadbent: No, no, darling, in the kitchen.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Making of 'My Fair Lady' (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Wonder Why
(uncredited)
Music by Nicholas Brodszky
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The immensely charming and entertaining Debutante
18 August 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

'The Reluctant Debutante' had a lot going for it, with talented actors like Rex Harrison, Kay Kendall and Angela Lansbury and a fine director in Vincente Minnelli. Also like comedy and romance and there are fine examples of both individually and both together.

Of which 'The Reluctant Debutante' is one of them. It is not without its imperfections. The story is thin which makes some of the middle act sluggish and repetitious. Some of Sandra Dee and John Saxon's lines are clunky and not a patch on the adults' material. John Saxon has his bland and wooden moments and Peter Myers is a bore. With all that being said, a huge amount of 'The Reluctant Debutante' works and incredibly well. Sandra Dee is a pert and charming presence and her chemistry with Saxon has its sweet moments. The adult supporting cast are much more impressive though.

Especially Kay Kendall (who died far too young a year later with much more to give), who is exquisite in every sense, comic timing, looks, everything. Rex Harrison delivers a lot of delicious lines with deft ease, with a flair for knowing comic timing and nuance. The film is actually worth seeing for their performances and irresistible chemistry alone. Angela Lansbury makes a thankless role interesting. Minnelli delivers on creating grand spectacle and gorgeous visuals, and paces everything that helps bring believability to the romantic and particularly comedic elements.

Scripting here is generally very good, at its best excellent. The comedic elements are delightfully witty and sophisticated and the romantic elements radiate with charm. There is a great deal of energy too. Lush music score too, with some great use of songs, the Cole Porter hits and "The Boy Next Door" are particular bonbons.

Visually, 'The Reluctant Debutante' looks wonderful. It's beautifully photographed, with opulently designed sets, gorgeous colours that pop out at you and especially those to die for costumes.

Overall, immensely charming and entertaining. 8/10 Bethany Cox


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