Tag Archives: Jessie Matthews

Albert de Courville – There Goes the Bride (1932)

A businessman’s daughter runs away from an arranged marriage, only to find herself penniless and suspected of theft after she becomes the victim of a bag thief in the train. When she refuses to tell him who she really is, her accuser decides to take her home where he can keep an eye on her until 12 o’clock the next day, the time at which she has calculated that it will be safe to tell the truth! But when his fiancée arrives unexpectedly and then his ‘guest’ is mistaken for her, it all gets rather embarrassing… Read More »

Victor Saville – First a Girl (1935)

British musical star Jessie Matthews tops the bill in this song-studded comedy. Elizabeth (Matthews) is a delivery girl for a seamstress who is dispatched to drop off some costumes at a theatre where a noted female impersonator is about to open a new show. The star is suddenly stricken with laryngitis, and Elizabeth is drafted to take over in his place, posing as a man who dresses like a woman. Elizabeth is a hit, and with Victor (Sonnie Hale) as her manager, she sets forth on a concert tour of Europe; she continues to perform as a man and draws packed houses and enthusiastic reviews. However, a mysterious Princess (Anna Lee) and her significant other get the strange feeling there’s something odd about this new singing star, and they’re determined to find out what it is. First a Girl was adapted from the German film Viktor und Viktoria, which would be remade into the American musical comedy Victor/Victoria. Read More »

Alfred Hitchcock – Waltzes from Vienna (1934)

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A bizarre entry in Alfred Hitchcock´s filmography: Johann Strauss Jr. is the son of the famous conductor and composer, and plays the violin in his father’s orchestra. He hasn’t had any of his own compositions performed or published because Strauss Sr. sternly discourages it. Not dismayed, Strauss Jr gives singing lessons to his gifted sweetheart Resi, the daughter of a pastry chef, and dedicates all his songs to her. Then he meets a Countess who has written some verses and asks his help in setting them to music. When her husband hears from a servant that a young man is upstairs with his wife, he storms into the music room, but the name of Strauss placates him. Later, Resi isn’t so easily placated, for she senses a rival. However, the Countess essentially has Strauss Jr’s best interests at heart. With a publisher friend, she successfully plots to have the elder Strauss delayed one night so that Jr’s new composition, “The Blue Danube” may receive a performance. Strauss Jr. conducts the waltz himself, becoming the sensation of Vienna. Soon afterwards, though the Prince’s suspicions have briefly been aroused again, everyone is finally reconciled.
In his interview with François Truffaut in 1964 and in many other interviews, Alfred Hitchcock referred to this film as “the lowest ebb of my career”. Read More »