Reluctant Debutante, The: Vincente Minnelli Directs Rex Harrison and Kay Kendall in her Last Comedy (Also Starring Sandra Dee)

The Reluctant Debutante was based on William Douglas Homes drawing-room comedy about the last group of debutantes to be presented to the Queen before the archaic ritual was abandoned.

On the surface, Homes satire of the London Season and its toll on one debutantes father sounded like a British version of Father of the Bride.

Newlywed Rex Harrison, fresh from the success of the stage musical My Fair Lady, and his wife-comedienne Kay Kendall, who had done a delicious turn in George Cukor’s Les Girls, were cast in the leads.

“We played Lord and Lady Broadbent, and I was supposed to be presenting my American daughter by an earlier marriage at Court,” Rex Harrison told me.  The film was meant to offer a sly look at the quaint custom of presenting debutantes to the Queen, a ritual about to be demolished due to its undemocratic nature.

In June 1955, Pandro Berman recommended to purchase the rights for what he saw as “excellent material for a comedy with class.” In the U.K., the play was a success, but on Broadway, it played for only 134 performances, a fact ignored by Berman. Three years passed before the film began shooting. Fearing that the upper-crust whimsy might not appeal to American audiences, Berman wanted to Americanize the material, make it like Father of the Bride, asking Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, the writers of the Father of the Bride films, transposing the play to New York locale. The writers, however, declined, claiming that what made the work special was its distinctly British flavor.

McKennas associate, Marjorie Thorson, proposed to turn the movie into a fish out of water story about an American father and daughter engulfed in Londons hectic social scene. Julius Epstein, of Casablanca fame, was hired to write. “To soak up atmosphere,” Berman sent Epstein to London and to the famous Josephine Bradley’s school for debutantes. In fall 1957, while Minnelli was wrapping up Gigi, Berman showed him the fist draft of the script. Upon reading, Minnelli protested that the transatlantic move neutered the play’s charm.

Minnelli then flew to New York to broach the subject with the Harrisons. Rex was intrigued by the project and liked the idea of working again with his wife Kay. He told Minnelli: “We would love to do it, but the script was no good. In fact, Harrison loathed the script even more than his director. Minnelli reassured the couple that the revised script would restore the flavor of the original play. British playwright Home was asked to refurbish the script, which he continued to do during production.

Even so, Berman felt that, to appeal to American audiences, the young players needed to be American. However, the casting of all-American Sandra Dee was so implausible that the script needed to explain that her character was Harrison’s daughter from a previous marriage. Dee’s fellow Universal actor, beefcake John Saxon, was chosen as her aristocratic bongo-playing beau. Angela Lansbury, who lived and worked in Hollywood but was still associated with all things British, rounded out the cast as Kendall’s chum-confidante.

Sandra Dee played a typical Minnelli ingenue, a worldly innocent, or a restless misfit, like Esther Smith (Judy Garland) in Meet Me in St Louis, Kay Banks (Elizabeth Taylor) in Father of the Bride, and the heroine of Gigi.

Except that in real life, Dee was so uneducated and unpolished that she projected the innocent simpleton much better than the worldly sophisticated daughter of such savvy parents as Rex Harrison and Kay Kendall. Watching Dee with Kendall or Harrison was one of the most incongruous sights of a family to be seen onscreen.

The film had to be completed by spring of 1958, to accommodate Harrisons commitment to appear in the London stage production of My Fair Lady. A Swiss resident for tax purposes, Harrison couldn’t go to London to shoot the film, and was not eager to go to America either. Hence, five months after he left Paris, Minnelli was back in town shooting a movie with an Anglo-American cast and Franco-American crew.

Minnelli hoped to spend three weeks of location shooting in London, but, under the circumstances, he resorted again to matching actors against back-projection shots. All in all, it took seven weeks to shoot The Reluctant Debutante, from mid-February to early April.

During the shoot, there was only one unpleasant note. Minnelli was shocked to realize that Andre Previn’s theme music for Designing Woman, which he didn’t like in the first place, would be recycled for the title sequence of The Reluctant Debutante.

Minnelli liked Harrison as an actor who embodied the serene foil to Kendall’s perpetual agitation. Harrison projects a slightly morose, sulky tone, even when he talked about poached eggs.

The major reward for Minnelli was the joy of getting to know Kay Kendall, known for her boundless charm and indefatigable energy. Determined to grant Kendall a royal treatment, Minnelli asked Pierre Balmain to design chic costumes for her in his favorite hues of yellow and red. Minnelli really wanted Kendall to look beautiful, and different from her previous films. Indeed, the films most striking image was the way Minnelli staged Kendall’s grand entree, in a red suit and slouch hat.

Minnelli was an expert at synchronizing his comedies to suit the tempos of his stars, evident by Spencer Tracy’s stolidness or Lucille Ball’s frenzy. In this film, Kendall is the driving force that keeps the tale spinning. Deservedly compared to Carole Lombard, who was American screwballs greatest comediennes (and also died young), Kendall was a delicious comedienne. Minnelli described her to his friends a glamour queen with the soul of a clown.

Kendall’s clipped, fluty voice was suitable for genteel and subtle repartee, and her elastic frame for low, physical comedy. Leaping from one imagined crisis to the next, Kendall can’t keep still for a moment. If Lucille Ball brought athletic approach to physical comedy, Kendall turns slapstick into choreographed ballet, while never losing her ladylike cool. Hence, at the sight of her stepdaughter with Mr. Wrong, she takes a dive downstairs and lands with her coiffure intact!

Kendall and Harrison possessed sufficient energy to keep the old engine running, even in the most confining circumstances. Their chemistry and Minnelli’s deft handiwork occasionally make the film sparkle.

My Bio of Minnelli

Minnelli enjoyed working with the Harrisons, as he later recalled: Kay would be raucous and vital and lovable, and when the days work was over, everyone would want to take her home.” To Minnelli, the Harrisons represented the ideal couple: “I found Rex wonderfully attentive to Kay, but gave it no special thought. Kay was equally devoted to him.”

It was great fun for the three of them, and they spent a lot of time running around together. The Harrisons had a lovely time behaving like teenagers, on and off screen. Since Minnelli had shot segments of American in Paris and Gigi in Paris, he knew the city well. At the end of the shoot, Minnelli was exhausted. It was one of the few times in which he violated his otherwise strict work code and partied wildly during the shoot.

Kay Kendall Dying of Leukemia

Just before shooting began, Kendall had been rebounding from a sudden debilitating malady. A doctor from the American Hospital in Paris examined her and concluded that she was entirely recovered from gastroenteritis. In what became one of showbizs best-kept secrets, only Rex Harrison knew that his wife was dying from leukemia. The lethal disease would take her life 18 months later, at the age of 33.

Minnelli thought that Kay’s death was a major loss not just for Harrison, but for the film world as well since her brand of comedy was so unique.

xosotin chelseathông tin chuyển nhượngcâu lạc bộ bóng đá arsenalbóng đá atalantabundesligacầu thủ haalandUEFAevertonxosokeonhacaiketquabongdalichthidau7m.newskqbdtysokeobongdabongdalufutebol ao vivofutemaxmulticanaisonbethttps://bsport.fithttps://onbet88.ooohttps://i9bet.bizhttps://hi88.ooohttps://okvip.athttps://f8bet.athttps://fb88.cashhttps://vn88.cashhttps://shbet.atbóng đá world cupbóng đá inter milantin juventusbenzemala ligaclb leicester cityMUman citymessi lionelsalahnapolineymarpsgronaldoserie atottenhamvalenciaAS ROMALeverkusenac milanmbappenapolinewcastleaston villaliverpoolfa cupreal madridpremier leagueAjaxbao bong da247EPLbarcelonabournemouthaff cupasean footballbên lề sân cỏbáo bóng đá mớibóng đá cúp thế giớitin bóng đá ViệtUEFAbáo bóng đá việt namHuyền thoại bóng đágiải ngoại hạng anhSeagametap chi bong da the gioitin bong da lutrận đấu hôm nayviệt nam bóng đátin nong bong daBóng đá nữthể thao 7m24h bóng đábóng đá hôm naythe thao ngoai hang anhtin nhanh bóng đáphòng thay đồ bóng đábóng đá phủikèo nhà cái onbetbóng đá lu 2thông tin phòng thay đồthe thao vuaapp đánh lô đềdudoanxosoxổ số giải đặc biệthôm nay xổ sốkèo đẹp hôm nayketquaxosokq xskqxsmnsoi cầu ba miềnsoi cau thong kesxkt hôm naythế giới xổ sốxổ số 24hxo.soxoso3mienxo so ba mienxoso dac bietxosodientoanxổ số dự đoánvé số chiều xổxoso ket quaxosokienthietxoso kq hôm nayxoso ktxổ số megaxổ số mới nhất hôm nayxoso truc tiepxoso ViệtSX3MIENxs dự đoánxs mien bac hom nayxs miên namxsmientrungxsmn thu 7con số may mắn hôm nayKQXS 3 miền Bắc Trung Nam Nhanhdự đoán xổ số 3 miềndò vé sốdu doan xo so hom nayket qua xo xoket qua xo so.vntrúng thưởng xo sokq xoso trực tiếpket qua xskqxs 247số miền nams0x0 mienbacxosobamien hôm naysố đẹp hôm naysố đẹp trực tuyếnnuôi số đẹpxo so hom quaxoso ketquaxstruc tiep hom nayxổ số kiến thiết trực tiếpxổ số kq hôm nayso xo kq trực tuyenkết quả xổ số miền bắc trực tiếpxo so miền namxổ số miền nam trực tiếptrực tiếp xổ số hôm nayket wa xsKQ XOSOxoso onlinexo so truc tiep hom nayxsttso mien bac trong ngàyKQXS3Msố so mien bacdu doan xo so onlinedu doan cau loxổ số kenokqxs vnKQXOSOKQXS hôm naytrực tiếp kết quả xổ số ba miềncap lo dep nhat hom naysoi cầu chuẩn hôm nayso ket qua xo soXem kết quả xổ số nhanh nhấtSX3MIENXSMB chủ nhậtKQXSMNkết quả mở giải trực tuyếnGiờ vàng chốt số OnlineĐánh Đề Con Gìdò số miền namdò vé số hôm nayso mo so debach thủ lô đẹp nhất hôm naycầu đề hôm naykết quả xổ số kiến thiết toàn quốccau dep 88xsmb rong bach kimket qua xs 2023dự đoán xổ số hàng ngàyBạch thủ đề miền BắcSoi Cầu MB thần tàisoi cau vip 247soi cầu tốtsoi cầu miễn phísoi cau mb vipxsmb hom nayxs vietlottxsmn hôm naycầu lô đẹpthống kê lô kép xổ số miền Bắcquay thử xsmnxổ số thần tàiQuay thử XSMTxổ số chiều nayxo so mien nam hom nayweb đánh lô đề trực tuyến uy tínKQXS hôm nayxsmb ngày hôm nayXSMT chủ nhậtxổ số Power 6/55KQXS A trúng roycao thủ chốt sốbảng xổ số đặc biệtsoi cầu 247 vipsoi cầu wap 666Soi cầu miễn phí 888 VIPSoi Cau Chuan MBđộc thủ desố miền bắcthần tài cho sốKết quả xổ số thần tàiXem trực tiếp xổ sốXIN SỐ THẦN TÀI THỔ ĐỊACầu lô số đẹplô đẹp vip 24hsoi cầu miễn phí 888xổ số kiến thiết chiều nayXSMN thứ 7 hàng tuầnKết quả Xổ số Hồ Chí Minhnhà cái xổ số Việt NamXổ Số Đại PhátXổ số mới nhất Hôm Nayso xo mb hom nayxxmb88quay thu mbXo so Minh ChinhXS Minh Ngọc trực tiếp hôm nayXSMN 88XSTDxs than taixổ số UY TIN NHẤTxs vietlott 88SOI CẦU SIÊU CHUẨNSoiCauVietlô đẹp hôm nay vipket qua so xo hom naykqxsmb 30 ngàydự đoán xổ số 3 miềnSoi cầu 3 càng chuẩn xácbạch thủ lônuoi lo chuanbắt lô chuẩn theo ngàykq xo-solô 3 càngnuôi lô đề siêu vipcầu Lô Xiên XSMBđề về bao nhiêuSoi cầu x3xổ số kiến thiết ngày hôm nayquay thử xsmttruc tiep kết quả sxmntrực tiếp miền bắckết quả xổ số chấm vnbảng xs đặc biệt năm 2023soi cau xsmbxổ số hà nội hôm naysxmtxsmt hôm nayxs truc tiep mbketqua xo so onlinekqxs onlinexo số hôm nayXS3MTin xs hôm nayxsmn thu2XSMN hom nayxổ số miền bắc trực tiếp hôm naySO XOxsmbsxmn hôm nay188betlink188 xo sosoi cầu vip 88lô tô việtsoi lô việtXS247xs ba miềnchốt lô đẹp nhất hôm naychốt số xsmbCHƠI LÔ TÔsoi cau mn hom naychốt lô chuẩndu doan sxmtdự đoán xổ số onlinerồng bạch kim chốt 3 càng miễn phí hôm naythống kê lô gan miền bắcdàn đề lôCầu Kèo Đặc Biệtchốt cầu may mắnkết quả xổ số miền bắc hômSoi cầu vàng 777thẻ bài onlinedu doan mn 888soi cầu miền nam vipsoi cầu mt vipdàn de hôm nay7 cao thủ chốt sốsoi cau mien phi 7777 cao thủ chốt số nức tiếng3 càng miền bắcrồng bạch kim 777dàn de bất bạion newsddxsmn188betw88w88789bettf88sin88suvipsunwintf88five8812betsv88vn88Top 10 nhà cái uy tínsky88iwinlucky88nhacaisin88oxbetm88vn88w88789betiwinf8betrio66rio66lucky88oxbetvn88188bet789betMay-88five88one88sin88bk88xbetoxbetMU88188BETSV88RIO66ONBET88188betM88M88SV88Jun-68Jun-88one88iwinv9betw388OXBETw388w388onbetonbetonbetonbet88onbet88onbet88onbet88onbetonbetonbetonbetqh88mu88Nhà cái uy tínpog79vp777vp777vipbetvipbetuk88uk88typhu88typhu88tk88tk88sm66sm66me88me888live8live8livesm66me88win798livesm66me88win79pog79pog79vp777vp777uk88uk88tk88tk88luck8luck8kingbet86kingbet86k188k188hr99hr99123b8xbetvnvipbetsv66zbettaisunwin-vntyphu88vn138vwinvwinvi68ee881xbetrio66zbetvn138i9betvipfi88clubcf68onbet88ee88typhu88onbetonbetkhuyenmai12bet-moblie12betmoblietaimienphi247vi68clupcf68clupvipbeti9betqh88onb123onbefsoi cầunổ hũbắn cáđá gàđá gàgame bàicasinosoi cầuxóc đĩagame bàigiải mã giấc mơbầu cuaslot gamecasinonổ hủdàn đềBắn cácasinodàn đềnổ hũtài xỉuslot gamecasinobắn cáđá gàgame bàithể thaogame bàisoi cầukqsssoi cầucờ tướngbắn cágame bàixóc đĩa开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育亚新体育亚新体育亚新体育爱游戏爱游戏爱游戏华体会华体会华体会IM体育IM体育沙巴体育沙巴体育PM体育PM体育AG尊龙AG尊龙AG尊龙AG百家乐AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人<AG真人<皇冠体育皇冠体育PG电子PG电子万博体育万博体育KOK体育KOK体育欧宝体育江南体育江南体育江南体育半岛体育半岛体育半岛体育凯发娱乐凯发娱乐杏彩体育杏彩体育杏彩体育FB体育PM真人PM真人<米乐娱乐米乐娱乐天博体育天博体育开元棋牌开元棋牌j9九游会j9九游会开云体育AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人爱游戏华体会华体会im体育kok体育开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育欧宝体育ob体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育开云体育开云体育棋牌棋牌沙巴体育买球平台新葡京娱乐开云体育mu88qh88
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter