"IT'S LOVE AGAIN"





Jessie teamed up with husband Sonnie Hale, and Director Victor Saville, for their third project together It's Love Again which was produced by Michael Balcon. This gloriously effervescent musical farce was adapted from a screenplay by Marion Dix and Lesser Samuels with snappy music and lyrics written by Sam Coslow and Harry Woods. Co-star Robert Young was brought to Gaumont British by way of a British American talent exchange programme. He was the first actor from Hollywood to star with Jessie. As performers go Robert Young is not without talent and ability but was rather overshadowed by Jessie. However It's Love Again broke box office records both at home and in America, Robert returned to Hollywood a much sought after actor. It's Love Again is my personal favourite of Jessie's films. It has all the right ingredients, a crazy plot, elaborate musical numbers, the most creative choreography by Buddy Bradley, who also was responsible for the dancing in both stage and screen productions of "Evergreen", and of course a superb performance from it's leading lady. Jessie looks the best she had ever looked and had the very best gowns, and magnificently mystic creations by Marianne and J. Strassner. Two outfits in particular have an incredible wow factor, the first is the dazling ornate bejeweled asian goddess costume worn for the 'Tony's In Town' number, and the second is the sparkling cat suit worn in the finale. The film is tremendously romantic without relying on sentiment. The developing relationship between the leading players is one of many elements of the plot and sub plots. Indeed the wonderful romantic feel is not reliant on the love story element but is instead laid into the settings, music, character and style of the film. Love here blossoms discretely so not to distract from the inspired farce. Victor Saville brings all the elements together to make this film one of the very best musical comedies, not just here in the UK, but internationally as well.

The story in a nutshell

Elaine Bradford (Jessie) is a young talented actress looking for a chance to audition her singing and dancing skills and get her first big break. Peter Carlton (Robert Young) is a columnist with writers block who occupies the flat opposite Elaine with his friend Freddie Rathbone (Sonnie Hale). Montague (Cyril Raymond), an unscrupulous society reporter of a rival paper, is getting the most lucrative stories and Peter's job is hanging by a thread. Out of desperation Peter invents an exclusive news story about an extrordinary mysterious socialite who spends her days traveling and finding Tigers in India. Mrs Smythe-Smythe is created.

Elaine gets the idea to impersonate the enigmatic socialite in the hope that the publicity will secure her the break she's been searching for. Soon Elaine and Peter collaborate. It is here that a number of risky stunts are devised to keep Mrs Smythe-Smythe in the news. When not jumping out of aeroplanes, or tracking down big game in exotic locations, she is seen in town fighting off her suitors by the dozen. Notoriety gained brings with it a whole new problem for Elaine, when invited to perform at a fund raising party - she is faced with the question how do dancers in the sub continent dance? Opulence abounds in the delivery of the answer - a rythmic Indianeqsue ballet vs jazz tap extravaganza and song 'Tony's In Town'. The other songs in the film comprise 'It's Love Again', 'We Have Met Before', , and a huge and lavish production number finale with Elaine dressed to tap the house down in a spangled cat suit, chiffon scarf and boater hat - 'I Nearly Let Love Go Slipping Through My Fingers'/'I've Gotta Dance My Way To Heaven In Your Arms'reprise.


Reviews

New York Times May 23, 1936:
“Miss Jessie Matthews, first lady of England's musical comedy screen’s latest picture, It's Love Again, opened yesterday at the Roxy. She rises to the task with her accustomed loveliness, gayety and talent. Gentlemen of the drama department would call it ‘a personal triumph.’ A pleasant wit of her own, a flair for impish comedy and piquant romance. When an Indian Maharajah appears on the scene, followed by Colonel Egerton of the Sixth Lancers and a group of Hindu musicians, Miss Matthews is compelled to perform an Eastern temple dance. Her interpretation is a blend of travelogue Bali, puerperal Charleston and late Harlem truckin'. Very good, too. The theme song, "It's Love Again," is tuneful and is excellently sung by Miss Matthews.”

Past Perfect:
“Jessie Matthews (1907-1981), widely regarded as the quintessential British musical star, was 29 and at the peak of her meteoric film career when she made the musical 'It's Love Again' from which she recorded 'Tony's In Town'. In an exotic jewelled headdress, and a daringly abbreviated costume that showed off a bare waist and her magnificent legs, Jessie dances Tony's In Town to an elaborate, intricate and highly sensual tap routine, choreographed by her friend, the black choreographer Buddy Bradley, and to the vocal accompaniment of The Three Ginx. The sequence remains, even over sixty years on, one of the most dazzling moments in British film musical history. Even today, the American born Buddy Bradley's contribution to many British films and shows of the 1930s and 1940s remains vastly underrated. As well as Jessie Matthews, Bradley often arranged the dance routines for vehicles starring 'gentleman' Jack Buchanan.”


Review for Amazon by Kalaman from Ottawa
"It's Love Again" is my second Jessie Matthews musical. After watching her previous merriment, "First a Girl"(1935), I wanted to see more of her work. And "It's Love Again" is every bit as spirited, frolicsome, and enthralling as that one. It is characterized by grand production values, lovely gracefully directed dancing numbers, and some agreeably enchanting songs - especially the title song, which for some reason I can't seem to forget, even though I've seen the film only once. Ms. Matthews herself – a radiant, willowy, longed-legged singer/dancer - is a joy to watch. The effortless way she dances, moves, or sings is quite astonishing, makes you wonder why she is little known. As in "First a Girl", "It's Love Again" features Matthews impersonating another persona, only to discover later her true self. The romantic moments are marvelously sweet and endearing amidst the chaos of dancing and singing. Victor Saville's direction has its occasionally polished slickness, with its penchant for large-scale, Busby Berkeley-like production numbers. Though it scarcely turns up in some circles as far as I know - "It's Love Again" is worth seeking out if you haven't seen it already. Like so many of the best 30s musicals, you will ultimately be left with a feeling of utmost joy and ecstasy.

Raves

TCM:
“A sparkling and vivacious musical/comedy”

Yahoo Movies:
“A gloriously effervescent musical comedy and romance, It's Love Again is a hugely entertaining affair.”

The Cerdonic Empire
“It's Love Again is a smooth, stylish and witty ride through the wonderful excesses and silliness of Art Deco, with a script that apes P.G. Wodehouse and some marvellous dance routines.”

Film 4
“Lively, light British musical ”

Nostalgia Family Video:
“Arguably the best starring vehicle of famed English musical star Jessie Matthews, this is a delight from beginning to end”

Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide:
“Not all of Jessie Matthews' films played as well in America as they did in Britain: It's Love Again is a delightful exception.”

 



The Cast:
Jessie Matthews .... Elaine Bradford
Robert Young .... Peter Carlton
Sonnie Hale .... Freddie Rathbone
Ernest Milton .... Raymond
Robb Wilton .... Butler
Sara Allgood .... Mrs. Hopkins
Cyril Wells .... Gigolo
Warren Jenkins .... Woolf
David Horne .... Durland
Athene Seyler .... Mrs. Durland
Glennis Lorimer .... Montague's typist
Robert Hale .... Col. Edgerton
Cyril Raymond .... Montague
Terry-Thomas .... Dancer

 



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