Not as jovial as the title might have you believe, this mundane satire trades the usual Launder and Gilliat light touch for a dark and depressing depiction about the seedy side of post-war showbusiness. The cast is mostly forgettable but for Alastair Sim‘s cameo as a world-weary producer and Dennis Price as a lascivious film star.
Set in a dreary provincial town, waitress Marjorie Clark (Pauline Stroud), enters a local Lady Godiva contest against the wishes of uptight boyfriend Johnny(George Cole), and unexpectedly wins. Despite her father Tom (Stanley Holloway)disapproving and outrage in the national press from moral groups like the Women’s Institute, Marge duly takes her place in the town pageant as Lady Godiva. This brings Marge to the attention of Eddie Mooney, exploitation manager of Fascination soap, offering her the chance to enter the Miss Fascination national beauty contest in Westbourne; with carries with it a first prize of £1,000, a mink coat, and a three-month film contract.
Unbeknown to the rest, the competition is rigged in favour of Dolores August (Diana Dors), and due to a mix-up Margie is crowned Miss Fascination 1951. She thinks she is on the way to fame and stardom with tuition at a film charm school,however she slowly sinks lower and lower until the only offer is burlesque with a travelling French review. She is about to have to perform in a nude show as Lady Godiva when she is rescued by an Australian admirer. —Britmovie.co.uk
Frank Launder left his job as a civil servant because he wanted to entertain, and that he did as a director, screenwriter, and producer — usually in partnership with Sidney Gilliat — of scores of British productions from 1928 until 1980. He is particularly remembered for the “St. Trinian’s” series of films, which began with “The Happiest Days of Your Life” (writer-producer-director, 1950), and focused on a boisterous, unruly school for girls. Together with Gilliat, Launder also wrote “The Lady Vanishes” (1939) for director Alfred Hitchcock, one of the latter’s most successful movies during his British period. The film focused on the disappearance of an older woman and how a younger woman gets caught up in intrigue in the search for the old dame.
Launder joined the Brighton Repertory Company while working as a civil servant, and wrote a play produced by the company, “There Was No Signpost”. This led to a trial as a scriptwriter, beginning with the silent “Cocktails” in 1928. Launder… read more