Back to British Comedy: Please Turn Over

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As you may know (or not), I’m a great fan of actress Margaret Lockwood. She was a very famous British actress in the 40’s, a “Gainsborough Pictures’ Queen”, and starred in many great movies such as The Lady Vanishes, The Wicked Lady, Cast a Dark Shadow and many more. However, today, I won’t talk to you about one of her films, but about a Julia Lockwood’s film. Of course, she is Margaret’s daughter, also known as “Toots” and was an actress too. She is now retired from the profession. Julia Lockwood doesn’t have a filmography as big as her mother’s, and the movie I’ll review today, Please Turn Over, is, I think, one of her most important. Of course, this is just a hypothesis, because it’s the only one I’ve seen. Well,  from what I’ve read, it seems to be. I thought first of reviewing a movie that I have seen many times before, that I know very well and that I love very much, but, instead, I decided to go with this one that I saw, for the first time, last week. The reason why I chose this film is because I really enjoyed it  and, as it is not a very well-known film, I wanted to “spread the word”, make you discover a little gem.

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Margaret and Julia Lockwood

Please Turn Over was directed by Gerald Thomas in 1959 and it featured some great British actors and actresses that I discovered for the first time by watching this film: Julia Lockwood, Ted Ray, Jean Kent, Leslie Phillips, Joan Sims, Tim Seely, Dylis Laye, Lionel Jeffries and more.  The plot goes like this: Josephine “Jo” Halliday is a young 17 years old girl. She works in a hairdressing salon and lives in an ordinary little town with her family. Jo has a great imagination and, every night, instead of going out with her friends, she retreats in her room and write a novel. The book, Naked Revolt, is published and becomes a bestseller immediately on the first day. The books tell the story of Blanche, a young girl who, on her 17 birthday discover some terrible secrets about her family, some adultery business you know. The problem is, readers think that Josephine Holliday is telling them the truth about her own family, that the characters are representations of her mother, father, aunt, the doctor and her mother’s driving instructor.

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This is, of course, a very creative film. It has everything you can expect to entertain you: laughs, love, imagination, great actors and a captivating story. When I first watched this film, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had never heard of it before, but I had to see a Julia Lockwood’s film. I discovered that she was a truly charming actress and it was a delight to see her acting talents. She was only 18 when she did that film, but look more mature (in a good way). She has self-assurance and is capable to express many emotions. Versatility is always a good acting quality. I thought her acting was quite different from her mother’s acting (don’t get me wrong: both are great), but we can she really is her mother’s daughter. 🙂 Well, having only seen one of her films, I might be wrong. I also think that the costume designer, whatever his or her name is (looked for it on the web, but unfortunately didn’t find it), dressed her very well for the film and chose clothes that glorify her beauty. One of my favourite ensembles is the one she’s wearing toward the end, the one with a little beret. Of course, they are not Edith Head’s costumes, but they are perfectly suitable for her character.

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Please Turn Over is not what I would name an “Oscar-winning picture”, it’s not the greatest movie of all times, but it can certainly be a favourite for those who love British cinema like me or simply for those who love movies. It’s what I call a great “Friday night movie”, a movie you can watch on a lazy day, just to have a good time and a good laugh. I just talked to you about Julia Lockwood, but the other actors all bring a lot of good in this film. In this picture, they are all hilarious in their own way, playing some very eccentric, wacky and original characters. It’s one of those films where we have difficulty to say who is our favourite character because they are all so interesting. The most important is that they complete each others and they make a marvellous team together. Ted Ray, who played Edward Halliday, is maybe the actor that makes me laugh the most in this film. His character always over reacts and, even when he tries to be serious, he turned out to be a little ridiculous. Jean Kent also was a marvellous actress and brings a lot to the comic aspect of this film. One of my favourite scenes is when she’s taking her driving lessons. She is a really bad driver and the driving instructor is terribly desperate by this hopeless case. However, she believes she’s doing a great job and drives with a big smile on her face. This film also has some great dialogues and is composed of many little funny moments that make it a real treat. I can think of this scene when Edward wants to go to the bathroom in the morning and hurry himself so he can access to it before his step sister. Unfortunately for him, when he arrives, she is here before him and enters in the bathroom. Here, she does her morning exercises. What’s funny about this, is that we learn, later, that this happens every morning. Ted Ray reaction also worth a million in this scene.

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That sounds strange to say, but immediately with the opening titles, I knew that I would probably enjoy this film because of the music. Yes, the music. A very “cute”, dynamic music that tells us that we’re about to watch what I call a “nice and easy” comedy. You know, just like when you’re watching I Love Lucy. The same type of music during the opening titles.

If you haven’t seen this film yet, I hope this review convinced you to do so and that you’ll add it to your “must watch list”. I promise, you won’t regret it. Well, you know me, if I wouldn’t have liked this film, I wouldn’t have written an article about it because, here at The Wonderful World of Cinema, I only write about stuff I like.

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