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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    While putting together the post for a thread of Wendy Hiller I thought about her outstanding performance in the title role of this film. I found this in a video collection in a library many years ago, and watched it several times. There are few first-rate film or television productions of Shaw's plays that I have found - with the exception of Pygmalion. This is slightly stagy and awkward as plays sometimes are when they are filmed, but that is a small flaw in my opinion because the cast is the ideal cast for a very good play.

    The two leads are played by Hiller and Robert Morley as her industrialist father. There is a patronizing attitude in Shaw towards the Salvation Army which I find irritating, but Wendy Hiller is so radiantly idealistic and so moving when she starts to understand the painful things her father points out that she transforms the role. I cannot imagine two people doing a better job in those parts.

    And the rest of the cast:

    Rex Harrison
    Robert Newton
    Stanley Holloway
    Emlyn Williams
    Marie Lohr

    A very young Deborah Kerr makes an appearance and Sybil Thorndyke also has a frustratingly small role as the General. She takes over the screen in her brief part and it is a shame to see her go so quickly.

    I see that there is a Criterion DVD with this as part of a Shaw collection. Also - I didn't realize that it was filmed during the Blitz and Gabriel Pascal did not allow the bombing to end filming.
    Last edited by Nick Dando; 21-09-11 at 11:41 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    Have always loved Robert Morley's performance as Undershaft in that movie. Some crits think he made the character into a complete ass but I think he was perfect.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windthrop View Post
    Have always loved Robert Morley's performance as Undershaft in that movie. Some crits think he made the character into a complete ass but I think he was perfect.
    Yes, agreed. Morley is slightly over-the-top, but that exaggeration is a part of who Undershaft is. Morley plays him as an extremely sharp, smart, shrewd character who is nobody's fool, but who also cares about his daughter. It is a difficult role to play because Shaw's capitalist is as much a symbol as a person. But Undershaft is a three-dimensional man, unlike say Mangan in Heartbreak House, and Morley defines the part. I can't imagine anyone else in it - although Charles Laughton played him on stage in the 50s. That would have been an interesting comparison.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: United States torinfan's Avatar
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    I taped "Major Barbara" from TCM several years ago - a most excellent movie - especially when Torin battles it out with Robert Newton.



  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by torinfan View Post
    I taped "Major Barbara" from TCM several years ago - a most excellent movie - especially when Torin battles it out with Robert Newton.


    Oh - so that's Torin Thatcher. I have seen him in other films. I should have included him in the cast list.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: United States torinfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimR View Post
    Oh - so that's Torin Thatcher. I have seen him in other films. I should have included him in the cast list.
    Yep that's him - the one who looks like he wants to put Robert Newton through the ground like a thumbtack.


  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    And let's not foget Felix Aylmer, defying type-casting by playing a member of the servant class

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: United States torinfan's Avatar
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    I had to play that scene from the movie -

    cue the fire engines

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