Man Who Loved Redheads, The (1955): Screen Version of Rattigan’s Play, Starring Norma (Red Shoes) Shearer in Multiple Roles

Harold French directed The Man Who Loved Redheads, a British comedy starring Moira Shearer, John Justin and Roland Culver.

The film is based on the 1950 play “Who is Sylvia?” by Terence Rattigan, which was inspired by the author’s philandering father. The film deviates from the play by turning Sylvia into a redhead.

Mark St. Neots (John Justin), a young peer and junior member of the Foreign Office is obsessed with the memory of Sylvia (Moira Shearer), a redhead he met at a party as a boy, and vowed he would love forever.

Now older and respectably married, Mark still retains his image of the beautiful young girl with the red hair, and spends the rest of his life searching for her, through a string of casual affairs.

The film contains a ballet sequence featuring extracts from “The Sleeping Beauty,” which was decorated by Loudon Sainthill.

The text is thinly plotted and outdated, but it’s well played by a nice gallery of Brit actors, Harry Andrews as the butler, Joan Benham as model, Patricia Cutts as the good time girl, Moyra Fraser’s sardonic Ethel and, best of all, Gladys Cooper as a savvy wife.

The main reason to see the movie is Moira Shearer, who did not make many picture after her bravura performance in the cult classic of 1948, “The Red Shoes.”

Moira Shearer – Sylvia / Daphne / Olga / Colette
John Justin – Mark St. Neots, Lord Binfield
Roland Culver – Oscar
Gladys Cooper – Caroline, Lady Binfield
Denholm Elliott – Dennis
Harry Andrews – Williams
Patricia Cutts – Bubbles
Moyra Fraser – Ethel
John Hart – Sergei
Joan Benham – Chloe
Jeremy Spenser – Young Mark
Melvyn Hayes – Sydney
Kenneth More – Narrator (voice)


TCM showed the movie on May 30, 2020.