Divorce of Lady X: Korda Screwball Comedy, Starring Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richardson

Hungarian-born British-based mogul Alexander Korda’s production of “The Divorce of Lady X,” is a mediocre British screwball comedy that’s wrapped in an opulent color production and lavish costumes by standards of the era.

The film is mostly known for being the on-screen teaming of two young British actors, who would become legendary in their own disparate ways: Laurence Olivier, in his pre-Vivien Leigh and “Rebecca” era, and Ralph Richardson, in his pre-Carol Reed’s phase (excelling in “The Fallen Idol”).

Slender in plot and characterization, “The Divorce of Lady X,” a loose remake of the 1933 flick “Counsel’s Opinion” (which is not great either), is based on a simple premise. Merle Oberon plays a married woman who, unable to find a room at a London hotel, bursts into the room of a stranger ((Olivier). Both baffled and intrigued by the mjysterious woman in his roomand later in his bed, though only sleepinghe begins to respons to her charm, not realizing that there’s a husband in the background (Richardson).

It’s impossible to watch this rifle, under the mediocre helm of Tim Whelan, without thinking of better screwball comedies made around that time in Hollyqwood wby Leo McCarey and others.

Olivier impresses with his handsome looks and facility with language. He’s burdened with long monologues, which he delivers in rapid-fire clip, but doesn’t show ease with comedy. Oberon, pretty in an uninteresting way, simply responds to Olivier. Richardson, as the upset husband, about to divorce his wife due to her adventurous night with Olivier, shows commendable screen presence and bravura voice.

All in all, “Diovorce of Lady X,” which gives the impression of a melodrama or woman’s picture, is a verbose trifle, with some humor spinkled over the proceedings.