Storm in a Teacup (1937) - Viv & Larry Blogathon, on Vivien
There are several reasons why I chose this film for the Viv & Larry blogathon: 1) this is one of Vivien's early films, and I planned to cover her early film, 2) there is Rex Harrison in it and 3) it's a romantic comedy, which I like. I like classic rom-coms.
Anyways, my first impression of this film is amazement over Vivien's poise as she acted the role of a provost's daughter, Victoria Gow, and adoration towards Rex Harrison's cheeky expression and mischievous gaze. I also liked the witty dialogues. Then I began to wonder, as I watched, almost the whole time they're just causing a ruckus over a dog... one fact I just can't seem to take off my mind.
The film tells the story of an English reporter, Frank Burdon (Harrison), who starts the whole 'storm in a teacup' commotion by writing for his newspaper the incident between Provost Gow (Cecil Parker) -the father of Victoria- and a lady, Mrs. Hegarty, who fails to pay the licensing fee for her dog Patsy. Patsy, as I heard, happens to be a very nice and cute dog, and is like a 'son' for the poor lady (played by Sara Allgood). His life is threatened since his license isn't paid yet for the provost, apparently.
I do like the movie for its dialogue, its message/theme and the acting carried, but I should admit that I'm quite disappointed with the plot. I really wish Leigh and Harrison would get more romance and have more screen time than both Cecil Parker and Sara Allgood's characters, because you see, I think this film really is just about how Provost Gow is faced with a problem as he tries to climb his way up to a higher rank, and I feel that Victoria and Frank's part -their romance- is more supporting than leading. I also wish that the film would focus more on other aspects aside from Patsy the Dog and the Provost. But this is in any way a comedy, made for light entertainment, and it is a good one. There are some funny moments, of course, and Vivien and Rex gave their best as Victoria and Frank; they carried such charming personas through their roles.
Although I think Vivien Leigh did a satisfying job playing as Victoria Gow in this comedy, I could never see her more perfect aside playing a Southern belle role, ever. She was born to be a Southern belle, to be Scarlett. You can see that clearly especially from her expression; to me, she gave this beautiful, intriguing aura through her eyes-- and her smile is just mysterious, like a lady with so many schemes! But having said that, I think it is indeed both good and bad knowing that her major roles in Gone With the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire (both serious, heavy drama films which gained her two Oscars) cast a shadow to her other great roles, both in the theatre and in the production house, in other genres whatever they are. Sad, really, when people only know Vivien from her two most popular films but they don't notice her other works. That would create the greatest shallow understanding about the actress.
Back to Storm in a Teacup... I think this is a nice film. Just a nice little classic romantic comedy for your lazy sunday afternoon, when you got nothing else to do and you want to complete your movie checklist and see how Vivien Leigh was during her early years making films. The ultimate plus for this film to me is Rex Harrison. He had this impish look on his face, and I always love an impish gentleman.
Next on list for the Viv & Larry blogathon, Sleuth, with Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine.