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The Perfect Gentleman

The Perfect Gentleman(1935)

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The Perfect Gentleman (1935)

What do you do when the black sheep in the family is its patriarch? In this genial comedy, the offending father is sent into exile, only to come home a star of the musical hall stage. The fanciful story was envisioned as a vehicle for Frank Morgan before MGM even bought the property for him. Playwright Edward Childs Carpenter had adapted Cosmo Hamilton's short story "The Prodigal Father" as a vehicle for Morgan in 1929 but couldn't find a producer for the play. Instead, he ended up selling it to MGM, where it was given a production so British some fans insist it was shot at MGM's Pinewood Studios. The studio surrounded Morgan with some of Hollywood's most British actors, including Una O'Connor as his disapproving sister, Heather Angel as his son's fiance, Herbert Mundin as a blackmailing loan shark and Henry Stephenson as the local bishop. Carrying MGM's anglophilia further, the studio imported Richard Waring and Cicely Courneidge from England to make their U.S. film debuts as Morgan's son and dancing partner, respectively. Courtneidge was a big stage and screen star in England, noted for her low comedy and athletic performances. As a result, the picture's title over there was The Imperfect Lady.

By Frank Miller

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