Starring Rex Harrison, Kay Kendall, Sandra Dee, John Saxon, Angela Lansbury, Diane Clare, Peter Myers
Vibrant. Easy. Slight.
Sheila Broadbent: No, darling, it’s Jane. She’s no good with men. She doesn’t know any, and she doesn’t want to know any.
Vincente Minelli, like most old Hollywood studio directors, was prolific. Through dozens of films of varying quality (all entertaining), his skill and level of craftsmanship were constant. The Reluctant Debutante, in a career primarily made up of musicals and romantic comedies, happens to be one of his lightest of efforts. It’s champagne bubbles and garnish; not a full-course meal. Seventeen-year-old Jane Broadbent (Dee) travels from her home in America to England to stay with her father, Jimmy (Harrison), and step-mother, Sheila (Kendall). Sheila, meaning well, wants to introduce Jane to upper-class society’s finest and most eligible young men. Instead, Jane falls for a drummer, David Parkson (Paxon), a working-class stiff with a bad reputation. The cast shines brightly (Kay Kendall is a fantastic comedienne) and there’s fun to be had in the rapid-fire dialogue.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-