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Mrs. Fay Cheyney, a rich American widow, insinuates herself into London society. Two men in particular -- middle-aged Lord Kelton and Lord Arthur Dilling, a young playboy -- pursue her. All are present at a large weekend house party, and though both men press their suit, Fay seems to favor Kelton. Then Dilling sees Fay's butler lurking in the gardens, recognizes him as a jewel thief who was apprehended in Monte Carlo, and realizes that Fay is probably after the hostess's pearls. Fay does get hold of the pearls -- but before she can pass them to her accomplice, Dilling gets hold of her.Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org> and Determined Copy Editor
See it at least for the glittering first half hour--the rest is fine, but it starts great
The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1937)
Underrated! The dialog here is truly witty and hilarious. The play of types is of course old fashioned, and the drooling men chasing Joan Crawford (title character) around. But if you lighten up about any of that, you'll find it truly funny. So for the first half hour you have a model comedy, seemingly made up of British characters but all (but one) played by Americans. Such is Hollywood.
What throws the movie into a bit of a tailspin is the big surprise twist that you can sort of smell coming after a stretch. It's a fun and funny idea, but the banter loses some sparkle and the pressure of the plot completely changes gears. Mrs. Cheyney is not longer the pursued (at least not in the same way).
William Powell is terrific (he appears as a butler, of all things, one year after "My Man Godfrey") and Frank Morgan and Nigel Bruce are both fun. I was less familiar with the other female players, but they made a large ensemble work well.
If you can click with the beginning, you might (like me) be really in stitches. It's that clever. Then if your interest fades a bit, that's okay. It's still an entertaining, farcical movie.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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