Star! (1968) - full transcript

Film based on life of actress Gertrude Lawrence, on- and offstage, takes the opportunity to feature extravagant musical production numbers with 'Julie Andrews' , acting, singing and dancing.

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London at the beginning
of the present century.

The district of Clapham.

In this street, this house,
a legend was born.

Her name: Gertrude Alexandre
Dagmar Lawrence-Klasen.

We know and love her
as Gertrude Lawrence, star.

These streets were
her playground, her world...

and her very first stage.

On them,
she played many parts...

always beginning, of course,
with an entrance.

She made many such entrances,
but since her family was poor...

and couldn't always meet the rent,
she also had her exits.



This was just one
of many moonlight flits.

The Lawrence family moved
and kept on moving...

and one night, Gertie's father took a
different turning and didn't come back...

which at least saved her mother
having to pay for his beer.

Instead, she paid for Gertie to go
to Italia Conti's Stage School...

in a studio
near Great Portland Street.

Here, Gertrude Lawrence met someone
who was to become part of her life.

My name is Noël Coward. I'm the only
one who can play the piano properly.

- Why do you want to act?
- I want to be lots of different people.

- Very egotistical.
- Don't you swear at me!

Under Miss Conti's supervision,
they went on tour together...

third class, of course.

- What are you doing?
- Why go third class when we can go first?

But the inspector
will want to see our tickets.



That's when we hide
in the lavatory, stupid.

Even then, Gertie
couldn't wait for what she wanted.

Eventually, she outgrew children's shows.
She longed for the professional theater...

but she only knew one person in it,
and to reenter his life...

she had to
make yet another exit.

She found her father performing his act
at the old Brixton Music Hall.

The 16-year-old girl
and the old trouper...

sharing between them their love
of the theater... met once again.

One can imagine
the poignancy of this reunion.

Poignancy? Oh, good Lord, darling.

Do you know the first thing he said?
He turned to Rosalie...

he was living with her at the time...
and he said, "Oh, my God, love."

He said, "Now we'll have to turn
the double act into a trio.

Cancel the beer and send
for a bottle of scotch."

Cancel the beer and send
for a bottle of scotch."

- I wish I'd known him.
- So do I.

- What?
- If you say I knew him, I knew him.

Miss Lawrence, I need your okay
to show this picture.

- You need it to use that title song too, darling.
- Now, don't be awkward.

I am never awkward.
I just hate being rushed into decisions.

Well, are we right? Did you wanna be
"lots of different people"?

- As an actress, I did, yes.
- As a person?

Look here, Jerry Paul. I get analyzed
onstage every night in Lady in the Dark.

Don't go probing my psyche. I'll say
your film's lousy, and you'll die broke.

All right, but don't be afraid
to tell me what you really think.

Ooh, darling. I've never been afraid
to tell a man that in all my life.

Of that act they did together in
1915, only a few old postcards remain.

There is no real record,
unfortunately.

'Unfortunately'? Oh, cripes, love.
You should have seen it.

Rose on the gin
and Dad on his dignity.

Come off it.

You call that singing?

- Boo!
- It's got bloomin' whiskers on it!

Why don't you go home?

Give him the hook!

Aren't they horrible?

Ohh!

- Wicket!
- Come back here! Come back!

Here. Let me feel your back.

Have a beer, ducks.

Get out of here!

- Hello, love. You enjoying yourself?
- Oh, I am.

Yes. Go on.

Here I am, love.

Belt up! Belt up!

Now, cut it out! Quiet!

All right, love. Carry on.

- Sing!
- Sing!

Come on!

And what the hell
was all that about, may I ask?

Prancing down to the audience,
mucking about with my material.

- What are you trying to do, ruin me?
- They liked it, Arthur.

You've only been in the profession
two shakes of a donkey's tail.

- Who do you think you are, Sarah Bernhardt?
- It's a long time...

since they enjoyed our act
as much as that, Arthur.

"Our act"? My act. They gave five quid for
that, and not one word's changed in 10 years.

- Well, it's changed now.
- Listen to me. You might be my daughter...

And you're going to South Africa
and leaving me flat, so ta for nothing.

Sorry, Arthur.
No hot water in my room.

You know bloody well I've got a booking
there, and the boat sails Friday.

- Well, I hope the Germans sink it.
- Nice. Would you believe it?

- Me own flesh and blood.
- Well, that's not my fault.

Hello, hello, hello.
What's all this then?

- You and me get married or something?
- It wouldn't be a bad idea.

Don't be coarse, dear.
I'm married to your mum.

It's not from her, is it?
She hasn't caught up with me, has she?

- It's from Gertie to wish us bon voyage.
- Ahh.

- Me own little girl.
- Oh, come on.

Excuse me, Harold.

One bottle of booze,
and it's all hearts and flowers again.

- Fat lot he cares if his little girl's got a job.
- Did you land it then, dear?

Swansea Music Hall, Monday. You gotta
lend me 10 bob for the fare, though.

- Of course. Here.
- Ta.

Now, then. A toast.

I know that wherever my little Gertie
goes, she'll always find herself.

Ohh.

Oh, oh... Oh.

Ooh!

- Ow! Ooh!
- You stupid twit!

- I'm sorry.
- Watch what you're doing, you silly thing. Ooh!

Turn around.

Wait!

Ha!

Oh. Mind. Sorry.

Ooh. Oh, sorry.

Wait! Wait! Wait!

Ohh! Sorry. Ooh.

- Sorry.
- The thick slug, slugs, slugs...

slugging on in Africa.

- Wait a minute.
- It's a diabolical liberty, that's what it is.

Don't worry. I'll fix her.
Hey, you. Get the manager.

- I'm ever so sorry.
- "Sorry," she says.

If you don't know the routine,
you shouldn't be allowed onstage.

Well, I mean it.
I did my best. Honest, I did.

If that's your best, you ought to
be working in a demolition firm.

- You ruined the whole act.
- Oh, I did, did I?

- You know you bloody did.
- Well, I also bloody know it's quite bloody impossible...

to spoil anything which
is already bloody awful.

- Why, you hit her! I saw you!
- Ladies, please. A fellow artiste is trying to perform.

- I've got a nosebleed. It's all over me face.
- That can only be an improvement.

- Pipe down, the lot of ya. The audience can't hear 'im.
- Just what I was saying.

- Ron, tell Gertie she can't do the next number.
- Or we don't go on.

- She's a flaming amateur.
- If she does it, we don't, and that's final.

That's enough of that.
You're on in three minutes. Get dressed.

You come back here, Ron James.
I'm not movin' till you do. Ohh!

- Hey, this isn't my costume.
- Oh, my God!

- Now what?
- You tore my costume, you silly cow.

- Who's a cow?
- You are! I can't go onstage in that!

- Please, dears. You are pros.
- Belt up!

- It's no good, Ron. We mean it.
- Could I say something, Mr. James?

- Yes. Go and play on a busy crossing.
- Oh, shut up!

I could take Boo's place.
I mean, she only scatters the petals.

- Well, uh...
- In the background, of course.

Ohh.

1916. Conscription.

England, fighting for her life,
became an armed camp.

Who could spare the time
in those grim, discouraging days...

to help a young actress
working her way across the country...

towards London and a career?

- How did you get there?
- I worked every inch of the way. Sometimes I even got paid.

- As an actress?
- Oh.

As my dad would say, "God helps
those what helps themselves...

and wherever my little Gertie may go,
I know she will always find herself."

- Good morning.
- First door.

- Name?
- Kathleen Engle.

Kathleen Engle.

- Good morning.
- If he offers us less than 15 a week, that's his loss.

- Name?
- Urgent personal message for Mr. Charlot.

- Who from?
- Me.

Stop! Come back!
Come back here!

Cor blimey, it's Noël Coward.

- Who are you?
- He's come a long way, hasn't he?

You'll go a damn sight farther if you
don't get back outside with the others.

Drapes are too high or either too
dark. Make them a little more gray.

- Mr. Charlot, I have the sketch...
- Later, later.

- But you said you wanted...
- Later, later. And the girls.

- Come on. Out.
- Shh.

Don't you shush me,
young lady. Out.

Let's see what they're doing.
All right, Mr. Coward.

We're ready whenever you are.

Thank you very much, Mr. Coward.
We'll let you know.

Thank you.

Let me see the new backdrop,
Mr. Roper, and try cue six.

- I'll see those sketches now, please.
- Get that piano offstage.

Let in that new backdrop, will ya?
Stand by, cue six.

Mr. Charlot, I'm Gertrude Lawrence,
and I'm...

Did someone call me?

Uh...
Mr. Charlot...

I'm Gertrude Lawrence,
and I've come all the way from Wales!

A remarkably original entrance.

Why, if it isn't
little Gertie Lawrence.

Hello, darling.
It's Noël Coward.

I don't care if you're the archbishop
of Canterbury. Fetch a bloody doctor.

I've got a spring
stuck in me backside.

André Charlot,
star maker, was always quick...

to recognize
a true comedy talent.

Along with that brilliant, vivacious
revue artist, Billie Carleton...

he signed the new dancing sensation,
Jack Buchanan.

In a few short years, Buchanan had
become London's foremost heartthrob.

Gertrude Lawrence also
found herself in the cast...

in the chorus, that is.

Oh, Noël, this is wonderful!

At moments of depression or exhilaration,
there's nothing like a good long lunch.

It helps to keep a sense of perspective.
Mario, two spanking champagne cocktails.

- Ooh!
- When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Of course, André Charlot
knows nothing whatsoever about talent.

- Thank you.
- I was referring to the fact...

that he was totally unimpressed
by my audition.

Never mind. He'll learn.
Give him time.

Meanwhile, congratulations
on a passable first night.

Oh, just wait till the next one.
I'll show him.

You're in the chorus, and Charlot's a
disciplinarian, so don't you try any tricks.

All I've done is fall through
that damned hole on my backside.

But I know you, Gertie. Given a step,
you're apt to imagine it's a long jump...

and you might find yourself falling flat
on that very attractive nose.

There's Anthony Spencer
looking very smart.

Hello, Noël.
May I join you for a moment?

- Please do.
- I'm waiting for Julian.

You can't expect couturiers
to be as prompt as soldiers.

- Miss Gertrude Lawrence, Sir Anthony Spencer.
- How do you do?

- How do you do?
- Tell me. What did you think of Charlot's effort last night?

We must all suffer occasionally.

- What did you think of it?
- Oh, it was splendid. Did you see the show?

- Oh, my God.
- What?

I happen to be in it,
Mr. Spencer.

- Ohh.
- He's a knight... not that it matters.

I don't care if he's a belted earl.
He's as blind as a bloody bat.

- Extraordinary girl.
- Indeed.

- Very attractive.
- Undoubtedly.

- Married?
- Definitely.

To her career.

No doubt you thought
that was funny.

- I'm sorry. I just felt like it.
- When I wish you to be amusing, I will pay you to be amusing.

So you got it for free. Relax, Uncle.
It's not the end of the world.

- I do not employ undisciplined amateurs.
- I am nothing...

Don't interrupt me. This is the
Vaudeville Theatre, not Margate Pier.

- Naughty, naughty girl.
- And I should like to make it quite clear...

that if anything
like this occurs again...

I shall sack you immediately!

- Ah, ah, ah.
- Well...

- Who does he think he is?
- He doesn't have to think, love. He knows. He's André Charlot.

- He's a tin pot god.
- Gold plated, love.

Ah, well. Bottoms up,
as the actress said to the Australian.

Don't you worry yourself, love.
His bark's worse than his bite.

- You're nice, Jack.
- Recognition at last.

And very sweet.

Do you know, I've just
thought of something.

We need a new general understudy
for our next revue.

Yeah. Just give me time,
that's all.

Just you relax and leave it all
to Jackie Roper.

You really are nice, Jack.

Romance entered Gertie's life
when she married Jack Roper.

All their friends were there
to wish them luck and happiness.

And why not? They were young,
and they were in love.

Bye!

Phew.

Jack, I shouldn't have done it.

That's a right one, that is.
You never miss a chance, you don't.

A joke a minute, said the old cock
Linnet, and died laughing.

- I'm serious.
- All right then.

- I shall go to the registrar, and I shall ask for my money back.
- It isn't that I shouldn't have.

- That's a relief, anyway.
- It's more that I'd like to know exactly why I've done it.

This is supposed to be honeymoon,
not a Sherlock Holmes mystery.

Here. Stop talking nonsense
and have a drink. Go on.

- It ought to be champagne.
- We can't afford it, Mrs. Roper.

God.

- You shouldn't have done it, Gertie.
- When I said that, you laughed.

- You shouldn't have bought the bubbly.
- Why not? It's our wedding day.

- Yes, I know, but 12 bottles!
- The man said it was cheaper than just getting one.

Besides, you actually
save money, so there.

You are crazy.

Anyway, I want it to last.
I want it all to last...

all the excitement
and all the good things.

You're plain, plain balmy.

Oh, Jack, I wish I knew
why I married you.

Oh, no. Not again.

I don't know if it's 'cause I love you
or because of all you've done for me...

Give it a chance.
We've only been at it a couple of hours.

There's a lot more to marriage,
you know, than just saying "I do."

What more is there?

Well, I mean...
Well, you know. Children.

Children?

All right.
Let's have ya, me old demon.

- Here we go, ducks.
- Oh, that's bloody marvelous, that is.

If you hadn't moved, it would've
gone straight down my ruddy throat.

With a mouth like yours...
pity.

If that was a googly,
I'm a Chinaman.

Steady, love, if you don't want him born
wearing a pair of batting gloves.

- Gus, Mr. Roper wants you.
- If it's about that W.C. In his office...

tell him from me, hammer and nails ain't
no use against a worn-out ball cock.

No. It's not that. They've...
They've changed the running order.

- Miss Carleton's been taken to hospital.
- What's that?

- Now, Gertie, remember what your old man said.
- No, Gertie.

- Out of my way, Jack.
- I won't let you. You can't do it.

- Oh, yes, I can.
- Gertie!

I'm all right.
I'm all right.

- Be careful, love.
- Shh.

"On plates of fresh air."
I've gotta remember those words.

Good luck, Gertie.

- You all right, love?
- Oh.

Oh, it was lovely.

Bravo! Bravo!

Thank you.

November 11, 1918.

On the day the war ended
and peace returned to London...

Billie Carleton
also came back...

and Gertrude Lawrence once again
found herself back in the chorus.

I'm all right.

Gentlemen... Gentlemen...
Gentlemen of England...

I salute you.

Good night.
Peace, beautiful peace!

Beautiful peace!

Peace!

Hello, Gertrude, love.
Here's your little Pamela.

- She's had a lovely...
- Oh, there, there.

- Gertie.
- Oh, my little love. Come on.

You struck your lawfully wedded husband
on "Armisticice Day."

- I'll strike you again with a poker in a minute.
- Gertie, love...

Don't you "Gertie, love" me. Taking
a six-month-old baby on a pub crawl.

Poor little Pamela.

You don't deserve to have children.
You're an animal, you are...

a stupid, dimwitted, boozy,
bowlegged baboon.

There's a word for your kind. If it wasn't that
I didn't want my baby to hear it, I'd use it.

Now, get out of here
before I really lose my temper.

She... She's wet.

Ever since they put you back
in the chorus...

there's been nothin' but bellyachin',
bellyachin', bellyachin'.

I'll give you bellyachin'.
Now, you listen to me.

I've put up with your drinking,
and I've put up with your moaning...

but I will not put up with your takin'
my baby round the boozers.

She could have caught her death 'cause you
had your head stuck in a double whiskey.

You ought to be damn well ashamed of
yourself, and I'll never forgive you.

- Gertie...
- Don't you say one more word, not one more ruddy word!

I have nothing to say, my lord.

Very well. I therefore pronounce
the divorce granted. Decree nisi.

Mrs. Roper to have
custody of the child...

Mr. Roper
to have reasonable access.

- Good evening, Dan.
- Good evening, sir.

- Miss Lawrence, please.
- Oh, I'm sorry, Sir Anthony...

but nobody's allowed backstage
during the interval.

Dan, I've been stationed in Germany for the
last year, and now I intend to enjoy myself...

so where is
Miss Lawrence's dressing room?

On your own head be it, sir.

- It's the second door on your right.
- Thank you.

Good hunting, sir.

Come in.

Miss Lawrence...

Oh, no.

We're quite tame, dear.
Well, have a good butcher's.

- I beg your pardon?
- Butcher's hook. Look.

Oh. I'm so sorry.

Three minutes, ladies... and gents.

I thought this was
Miss Lawrence's dressing room.

Well, it's not
the queen's boudoir, love.

- Oh, it's you.
- What?

- It is hard to tell one fox from another, isn't it?
- Yes.

I thought you'd have
a room to yourself.

In the chorus,
we share everything.

- Well, I...
- And also the flowers.

Thank you.

I meant to come and see you ages ago, but
I've been occupying Germany for the last year.

- Oh, how very "uncomfy."
- Yes.

- Pardon.
- Make him buy you champagne, Gertie.

- I saw the revue again before I left.
- Oh, yes?

Yes. -
Sorry. - Pardon.

When you
sang "Burlington Bertie,"

I've never enjoyed myself
in the theater so much.

- You saw me then? You saw me?
- Yes.

No one's gonna see you tonight
if you don't get a wriggle on.

- Well, then.
- I'd like to apologize for what I said that time we met.

- Think nothing of it.
- Beg your pardon, Your Lordship.

I wondered if you'd care to have dinner
with me one evening?

- Just to apologize? Watch it. Mind my ruddy tail.
- Ooh, sorry, Your Ladyship.

Well, I don't know if I can manage it. I
don't usually go out alone with strangers.

Don't be coy, Miss Lawrence.
It really doesn't suit you.

Hey, get moving, Gertie.
You haven't got all night.

Any more of that, and you'll
get a belt round the lug hole.

When I need you to teach me
how to behave, I'll let you know.

It's impossible to teach anything to someone
who already possesses all the gifts...

except, perhaps,
how to make the best of them.

Well, shall we say Sunday?
And, of course, not alone.

- Miss Lawrence?
- What?

- Have a butcher's. Your "ruddy" tail.
- Ooh.

There was the most god-awful silence,
'cause the curtain got stuck, you see.

It worked like this.
As soon as I got onstage...

my skirt used to fall off
so the audience could see my knickers.

And I would say,
"Alas, I am undone!"

Wasn't it silly?

I hate to drag you away
from the men, Miss Lawrence...

but I'm sure you'd like
to come upstairs with the ladies.

No, thanks, ducks.
I did it before I come out.

Give her some warm milk if she wakes
up, Mrs. Wilson. I shan't be late.

- Yes, ma'am.
- Here you are, love.

- Steady on, darling. It's me best dress.
- We've got to go to bye-bye.

Oh, sweetheart.
Good night, darling.

She'll be all right in a minute.

- I shouldn't go gallivanting anywhere tonight.
- Why not?

I've had this cold, and Charlot said I
needn't appear at the theater this week, but...

- That dress.
- What about it?

- You're gonna take it off and never ever put it on again.
- Now, look here, Tony.

- I'm not gonna do no stripping.
- I'm not going to do any stripping.

- I should bloody well hope not.
- The time has come to visit Julian Brook Taylor.

- You having me on?
- There's not another moment to be lost.

Good evening, Sir Anthony.
Welcome to Cesare's.

Thank you, Cesare. This is Miss Gertrude
Lawrence. She's in the Charlot revue.

Privileged to meet you, Miss Lawrence.
May I say, what a very beautiful gown.

It is rather nice, isn't...
divine, isn't it? Thank you.

I enjoyed your show
very much, Miss Lawrence.

- It is a pity you have left it.
- Oh, I...

Well, I'm just resting for a few days.
A slight cold, you know?

Perhaps one day you will do me
the honor of singing in my club.

Oh, I'd simply love to, but I'm afraid
it's quite impossible at the moment.

However, I promise to let you know
if I ever have any free time.

Which may be much sooner
than I thought.

I'm sorry, miss. I can't let you in.
Mr. Charlot's orders.

"If you are well enough to go to dinner, you
are well enough to appear at my theater."

How dare he!
He can't fire me!

- He can and he has, Miss Lawrence.
- That puffed-up Frenchman!

I'll show him
and his crummy chorus!

So you see, Cesare,
you're a very lucky man.

- Yes, Miss Lawrence.
- Naturally, I must insist on solo star billing...

an extra dressing room
for entertaining my friends.

And, of course, you'll pay all expenses,
but that's no problem, is it?

- No, Miss Lawrence.
- I would like a week's rest and a few days' rehearsal.

I suppose I could start
in about a fortnight from now.

- But, Miss Lawrence...
- I know how anxious you are, but not a day sooner.

- Miss Lawrence...
- Yes.

- Unfortunately, it will be much later.
- What do you mean?

You see, my present show
is booked for three months.

Oh, cripes!

What the hell am I going to do?

"And now, Wings of Night...

"an alluring gown
of glistening feathers...

"appliquéd
on sweeping gray tulle.

"A trailing scarf
of lacquer red...

completes this oh-so-dramatic
attention-getter."

"Chinoiserie...

"an imperial lavender and ivory
tapestry brocade coat.

"Inspired by the Orient
and bordered in sable.

"Worn over a pleated
tiered gown...

in tones of lavender
and mauve."

"Pagoda...

"another gown
of Far Eastern inspiration.

"Violet satin...

"heavily encrusted
with embroidery of gold...

amethyst and topaz."

"Arabian Fire...

"a ravishing gold
and blue brocade...

"bordered in gold-sequined lace.

For the most formal
of embassy balls."

Naturally, the scarf
may be removed for dancing.

"Under an evening coat
of bronze voile...

"an embroidered rose
velvet gown...

"Mr. Brook Taylor
named Holland.

"Bordered
in a tulip embroidery...

of baroque pearls
and crystal."

"And now the finale
of the collection... Starlit Night.

"This lovely, luxurious,
single-sleeved velvet cape...

"is paved with spiraling stars.

"A fall pair...

"so new...
another innovation.

"Brook Taylor
now introduces to us...

"glistening, shimmering...

oh-so-formal
evening pajamas!"

Gertrude
Lawrence was introduced...

to the fads and fashions of crazy
postwar England of the early '20s...

by Sir Anthony Spencer.

She proved to be an apt pupil.
She defied convention...

and occasionally,
even the laws of gravity.

Champagne, of course, always
does taste better at high altitudes.

She moved faster than most...

and enjoyed to the full the fruits
of each and every conquest...

whether it was
at Brooklyn's racetrack...

or at a garden party
on the lawns of Buckingham Palace.

Squired by Sir Anthony,
the girl from Clapham...

met the highest in the land
and learned to walk with princes.

She gradually acquired
an elegance and dignity...

that brought new life
to state occasions and state palaces.

St. James's, scene of
so many royal proclamations...

welcomed one of the uncrowned
queens of London society.

- What's the matter?
- Nothing.

You haven't spoken
for two and a half minutes.

Something must be
seriously wrong.

Sounds ridiculous.

I seem to be running all the time
and not getting anywhere.

Enjoy it. You're the glittering
darling of society.

None of it means a damn thing.

I'm in such a muddle.

- Mea culpa.
- Who?

- Latin for "my fault."
- No, it's not.

You're patient,
kind and wonderful.

No, it's me. I feel,
I don't know, sort of unreal.

Well, the general opinion
is that you gave the palace...

its healthiest whiff
of reality since Nell Gwyn.

It's that bloody Charlot.

He's keeping me
out of the theater.

- I see.
- Do you?

One person isn't enough
of a challenge.

You need to conquer
about 1,500 at a time.

You know me far too well.
Don't laugh at me.

May I come in?

No, love, it's late,
and I'm tired.

Come here.

I'm sorry to be
such an ungrateful bore.

It's just that
I'm an actress without a job.

- Good night, love.
- Good night.

"Understand Noël Coward's starring
in your new show, London Calling.

'Congratulations on seeing
the light at last.

Sincerely,
Archbishop of Canterbury."

"Noël Coward
is a musical genius.

I should know.
Sincerely, Sergey Rachmaninoff."

My dear Noël, if you are going to
send such telegrams...

you really should learn
how to spell Rachmaninoff.

"My dear Mr. Charlot, you will redecorate
the star dressing room, won't you?

"I do so abominate beige.

Most cordially,
Noël Coward."

I wrote it for Gertie, you know?

- You could get her back.
- She deserved to be sacked. She needed to be taught a lesson.

Where is she?

Ha, ha, ha.

Is the party over, Mr. Charlot?

2:00.
Quite late enough for me.

Oh, goody. It's on time.
Everybody on board!

You've hired that
extraordinary vehicle?

- How else could I get everyone to Maidenhead?
- Maidenhead?

Come on. Come on.
It'll be fun. Hurry along.

- If this is your idea of a joke, it's not very funny.
- Right down the back.

Tally ho!

Is this what
the poor people ride?

Oh, I'm brilliant,
just bloody brilliant. Whoo!

Gertie has the jolliest ideas.

- Waiter, I'm thirsty.
- André doesn't look too happy.

Give my friend a drink.
André, it's a party.

I'm having a wonderful time.

Noël, you ought to
write a play about this.

All right.
Open your presents, everyone.

Open your presents!

All right. Here they are.

Pass this down to milady.

Oh, bathing costumes.

How clever of Gertie.

Oh, mon dieu!

All change places, everyone.

Ladies on the lower deck,
gentlemen up on the top.

- Hang on.
- Undressing on a bus! Divine!

- Fetch, dear.
- I feel like Eve with Adam.

How can I change
without my maid?

- Did you see that, George?
- Yes.

- The London bus.
- Yes.

- There was naked men up top.
- Yes.

- And naked women down below.
- Yes.

Yes.

I will not put on
one of those damned things...

as I have no intention
of swimming.

Nor does anyone else, darling.
It's far too cold.

All right, then. We'll dance instead.
Back to the shore, Fred.

- Right, Miss Lawrence. George? We're going in.
- Yes?

Right. And about time
too, Gertie.

To shore, George.
To shore. Aah!

- Whoo! Man overboard!
- I can't swim!

Oh, my God!
If he drowns, I don't get paid!

- In you go, love. Go on.
- Aah!

I can't swim!

Troop, halt!

- Oh.
- It's me.

- My God, I thought it was a Martian.
- Mm.

- What time is it?
- 12:00.

12:00? Oh, God.
I'm due at the Barclay at half past.

I... didn't have a chance
to talk to you last night.

Oh, wasn't it a super party?

Marvelous. I wanted to...

Parade's a bit late
today, isn't it?

- I stopped to do some shopping.
- Oh.

Poor old Charlot.

I say, darling, that's a very
nasty cold. Where did you catch it?

Gesundheit.

- G.
- Mm. I'm just coming, love.

I, uh... I have something
to say to you.

Oh, couldn't it wait?

I'm in a bit
of a rush, my sweet.

- Darling.
- Put it on.

Oh, darling!

Oh!

- Do you like it?
- It's beautiful.

Perfect.

Thank you.

But you shouldn't have done it.

- I shall wear it always.
- That was the general idea.

Mmm. It's
wildly extravagant.

- G.
- What?

I'm... I'm asking you
to marry me.

Well?

Mm, could you, uh, could you
do me up in the back, please?

- I'd be Lady Spencer, wouldn't I?
- You'd be my wife.

Why don't you just
chuck me out the window?

Ground floor.
You'd just walk back.

Well, at least it would be
a definite decision.

Besides, I love you.

- And I love you.
- Definite statement.

So what are you
gonna do about it?

Trapped, as they say
in the movies.

Where are the marines?

Oh, answer it, will you, darling?

Gotta do my face.

Incidentally,
I'm giving up the army.

- Oh.
- Hello?

Hello.

Hello. This is... This is André Charlot.
I've got a cold.

This is Tony Spencer.
So have I.

- Mm. Is Gertie there?
- Yes.

Tell her I want her to go
to "Aberica" in a "dew" revue.

Charlot wants you to go
to "Aberica" in a "dew" revue.

"Aberica"?

America!

- Can I see?
- Of course, G.

- Who is that?
- Alexander Woollcott...

one of the New York critics, dear.

Sometimes known as
the butchers of Broadway.

Help.

The condemned ate
a hearty dinner.

- Only a few more minutes.
- How do you know?

I'll thank you to remember I've been
attending opening nights for a very long time.

I've a nasty feeling
you're now present at a closing one.

- Papers. Papers.
- The papers are here.

Oh, cripes.

- Where do they put it in American papers?
- I don't know. I don't know.

- Gertie.
- Oh, ta.

"Gertrude Lawrence, incandescent star
of the first magnitude."

- What?
- Many congratulations.

I haven't read that yet.

"Jack Buchanan, a young Englishman of
astonishing grace and charm."

- Great taste.
- No taste at all.

- Oh! Oh, darling.
- What price Clapham now?

- Oh, Jack.
- You were marvelous.

- "English conquer New York."
- Oh!

- Also me.
- Who are you?

Oh, shut up.

- Good morning.
- My name is Charles Fraser.

I've come to show you the city you hold
in thrall. Ride through Central Park?

Lunch at the St. Regis, visit to
the Statue of Liberty and supper.

Who are you,
a guide or something?

Me? I, dear lady, am an actor.

Also your devoted slave,
and you have 10 minutes.

- How dare you!
- Listen, you kissed me last night.

This is a country of equal opportunity
for all. Ten minutes.

- You're crazy.
- Oh, I'm the sanest man in America.

The other 100 million
only love you from a distance.

- Charles, I think we should get something straight right away.
- You're married.

Your husband's arriving on the
next boat. Never mind. It may sink.

- I haven't got a husband.
- Uh-huh.

- What is this?
- A ring.

Yes. I can see that.
Man go with it?

All right. I'm not officially
engaged to be married.

- Get up at once.
- Mademoiselle G., I crave the favor of your hand.

- You'll get it where the monkey got the nut in a minute.
- Shh. Don't shout.

- People are watching.
- I'm going home.

Alone.

You're grand fun,
Charles, darling...

and I like you very much,
but this is the end of the evening.

- Give me one good reason.
- I already have.

I go home alone.

- You don't want to.
- That has nothing to do with it.

I don't want you to either.

Mr. Fraser,
we hardly know each other.

Oh, well, we can give it time. I mean, I
can return and seduce you in the morning.

I shall be busy in the morning.

Well, anyway, you know,
we've known each other for centuries.

Oh, yes. Yes, it's true.

Actor and actress...
born for each other.

Oh...

cripes.

This was 1925...

the swirling vortex
of the crazy '20s.

The era of fun and thrills
and the devil take tomorrow.

Faster, madder, higher...
the sky's the limit.

Everyone was rich,
or about to get rich quick.

They wanted to laugh.
Gertrude Lawrence helped them do it.

It was also the era
of prohibition.

While some approved,
others were more doubtful...

or even downright shocked.

But the only thing prohibited to
Gertrude Lawrence was a moment to herself.

Everyone from all walks of life
wanted to meet her.

And many actually did.

As she had done in London
several years before...

she was establishing herself as one
of the leaders of New York society.

She was wildly extravagant
and enjoyed every moment of it.

Wherever she went,
usually with Charles Fraser...

people thronged to see her.

They loved her,
and she reveled in it.

There was fresh excitement round
every corner, even that of Wall Street.

I do know some
far more interesting places.

Oh, cripes.

- Just tell me one thing.
- What?

- Why do we do this?
- It's extremely simple.

You do them to buy Rolls-Royces
and diamond bracelets...

and I do them
because I adore you.

Nonsense. It's ego.
Actor's ego.

We mustn't let
the public forget us.

If they can't see us in the theater,
we must tell them what to buy.

Besides, being out of work scares me.
I feel lost and out of touch.

Darling, the revue has
only been closed a month...

and you're rehearsing
for Oh, Kay!

All right. It's the money too.
They should pay us for rehearsals.

With Ben Mitchell in your life,
you're stuck for money?

Ready, please.

Thank you.
Next one, please.

What are we doing after lunch?

I am going shopping with Ben.

- What for, yachts?
- Hold it, please.

It just so happens it's my
daughter's birthday. She wants a doll.

Thank you very much.
And the next, please.

- Aah!
- Oh, so sorry, dear.

- Ready?
- You know, you ought to try drinking that stuff sometime.

- Ick. Don't be ridiculous.
- Yes, it might poison you.

Now.

I have no idea whatsoever
of your identity, dear lady...

but would you kindly
fetch me a drink...

before I die of exhaustion?

For you, Mr. Woollcott, anything.

- Isn't it divine?
- You look absolutely breathtaking, my darling...

but does the pompadour
really belong in Imperial Rome?

Oh, it's to celebrate
my learning French.

I thought it might be your choice
of the appropriate attire...

- for entertaining two lovers at the same time.
- What?

Oh. Quelle joke, darling.

They do look rather sweet,
though, don't they?

And obviously share
the same dressmaker.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee...

which, if either,
is it going to be?

Mm. Oh, chérie, be an angel and get
me another drink, s'il vous plait?

Tout de suite. Oh, I know you,
Mr. Coward, but you don't know me.

A regrettable but increasingly frequent
state of affairs, I'm afraid. How do you do?

This is my divine
French teacher, Jeannie Banks.

She's gonna stay with me forever
and be my secrétaire.

How extremely courageous of you.

Don't be horrid.
She's tres gentille and also very nice.

- Darling.
- Darling.

- I trust she also has the discretion of a eunuch.
- Hmm.

Oh, darling!

Oh, Tony! Oh!

Now, gentlemen, don't fire
until you see the whites of his eyes.

- Why didn't you tell me?
- I meant to get here in time...

but apparently the damn tide
was against us.

- Tony, it's wonderful to see you.
- Hello, Noël.

- Well, how are you?
- Oh, I'm fine. I'm so thrilled!

- What's all this?
- I'm learning French. Come on. You must meet everyone.

- Welcome to Rome, my Saxon lord.
- Hello, Jack.

- The tide was against him.
- It won't be for long.

Uh, Mr. Ben Mitchell, Mr. Charles
Fraser, this is Sir Anthony Spencer.

He just got in from Europe,
and I love him.

- Hi.
- Glad to know you.

- How do you do?
- How long can you stay?

- Oh, only a week or so. Just a business trip.
- Oh.

Oh. Isn't that too bad?

It's tough you missed G's first night.
She was swell.

- I'll see her tomorrow.
- You most certainly will! Here, my love.

Why wait, dear boy?
Tony is a very old friend.

For him, the mountain
comes to Mohammed.

C'est vrai, c'est truly vrai.
Come on.

Tony?

You let him go.

Call his hotel.
He'll come back.

The nasty part about the really
good parties is when they end.

- I'm not sure.
- You used to be.

You said so.

"Why go third class
when you can go first?"

"I want to be lots
of different people."

"Beware of wishing
for anything in youth...

because you will
get it in middle age."

So said
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Whoever he was,
he wasn't born in Clapham.

You'll never decide
what you want...

until you've decided
who you are.

So says Noël Coward. Better?

- I'm an actress.
- Unfortunately, my darling...

you can't take a whole audience
home to bed...

without being accused
of immorality on rather a grand scale.

So why not marry Tony instead?

Close personal relationships
are bloody difficult, my darling...

but they do get easier with time.

Loneliness gets harder.

You're going to write a play for us,
and I shall be very, very good in it.

The moment of decision,
as the novelist said...

has been thrown firmly
out of the window.

Also, I need a holiday.

It's a small point,
but you've just opened in a show.

It'll close eventually.

And I shall go...

to the south of France.

May one be so bold
as to ask with whom?

- Pamela.
- Pamela?

It'll make a lovely change
from that horrid English school.

It's high time we got to know
each other better.

Well, I'm her mother.

No doubt the reminder will come as a
very pleasant surprise to her, my sweet.

- Oh, damn!
- I'm sorry, Mother.

- No, darling. I'm sorry.
- I've never done one like that before.

- My fault. I should've got it.
- It was a fluke.

- Honest.
- Uh-huh.

Well, shall I serve again?

Uh...

- Why don't we swim instead?
- Oh, yes!

- I mean, if you'd like to.
- I would if you would.

- Gertrude!
- Hmm?

The chef wants to know
what you'd like for dinner.

Don't bother me
with boring details!

Pamela and I are
having far too much fun.

You really should answer Noël's
letter about Private Lives.

You run along and change, darling.
I'll be with you in a minute.

- Scrambled eggs and bacon.
- For dinner?

Uh-huh. Pamela adores them,
and so do I. Tell the chef.

Okay. What shall I tell Noël?

Cable him the play's delightful,
and there's nothing that can't be fixed.

- He won't like that.
- I mean about my commitment to Charlot, idiot.

Whoops!

Uh, darling.

- Oh, you're not changing, darling?
- I've just remembered.

- It's less than an hour since lunch.
- Hmm?

- I'm sorry, the school insists.
- Of course, you're absolutely right.

My mum always used to say that the couple of
minutes we used to pinch before lights out...

were the best part of any day.

She used to come and sit
on my bed just like this.

Mother, may I ask you something?

- Well, of course, darling.
- It's...

Well, I hope you won't mind.
It's something I want to know.

Yes?

- Did Daddy leave you?
- What?

Or did you leave him?

Well, we... we left
each other, darling.

- We agreed it would be better.
- I see.

- Do you really?
- Yes, really.

It's good that we're so close.

- Good night, darling.
- Good night, Mother.

- Good morning, dear.
- Good morning.

The master has replied.

"The only thing
which requires fixing is your acting.

- Love, Noël."
- Very funny.

- Is the car ready?
- It always is. Why?

Pamela and I are motoring up
to Monte Carlo before lunch.

- Ready, darling? Yes?
- Mother.

Would it...

Would you mind very much if I went back
to England a week earlier than we planned?

It's just the girls in my form are having
a pony-trekking expedition, and I...

Well, I sort of
promised to go along.

Well, of course, darling.
You mustn't let them down.

Are you sure?

Well, I'll miss you, but, uh,
there will always be other holidays.

Mother.

It's all right, darling.
I understand.

All children are a bit
unpredictable at her age.

It's my fault.

She needs more than a glamorous mom
floating in and out of her life...

like a female Father Christmas.

She needs a father,
a home, constancy.

Come to that, so do I.

Today you do.
Tomorrow you won't.

If you can't say anything more original
than that, I suggest you keep quiet.

I'm sorry.

I feel bloody.

Let's face it, love.
This whole holiday was a mistake.

Life's a mess.

I don't know, I suppose
I ought to get married.

Ben Mitchell's in Paris.

One phone call,
and he'll come running.

Charles Fraser would even
fly across the Atlantic.

I'd like you to go back to London
with Pamela. Keep her company.

But you'll be all alone here.

Well, I'll just have to ask
Noël to come down a bit earlier.

As the saying goes,
"When you've flopped in one part...

always start in another
as soon as possible."

- Oh, I'm in such a rage!
- So am I.

- What are we to do?
- I don't know.

Whose yacht is that?

The duke of Westminster's,
I expect. It always is.

- I wish I were on it.
- I wish you were too.

- There's no need to be nasty.
- Yes, there is every need.

I've never in my life
felt a greater urge to be nasty.

And you can be, can't you?
What about that damn telegram?

That line is not
in the script of Private Lives.

"The only thing that needs
fixing is my acting." Indeed.

There are times when it
most definitely does.

That is precisely why I agreed
to start rehearsals early.

Oh, go to hell.

Never sit down on a line like that.
It kills it stone dead.

I'll kill you in a minute.

- When does Tony arrive?
- Next Wednesday. Why?

The lord Chamberlain has seen fit to
question various passages from Private Lives.

I shall have to go to London
to convince him he's mistaken.

So, you and Tony will have
the house to yourselves.

Well, I might just go with you.

Oh. Well, if you do, it'll be
the first time a theatrical censor...

has helped a woman to avoid
pressing questions from her lover.

Why don't you just go...

Troops, steady!
Troops, set!

Troop, carry swords!

From the right four half-sections,
forward, march!

'I hope for a glorious oblivion,
like being under gas.

'I always dream the most
peculiar things under gas.

- "Would you be young always if you could choose?
- "No, I don't think so.

"Not if it meant having those awful
bulls' glands popped into me.

Cows for you, dear.
Bulls for me."

Thank you both so much.

Now, on page 50,
the directions read...

- "He pushes her back onto the sofa."
- Precisely.

Precisely.

- I wonder, would you two gentlemen mind moving?
- Eh?

I don't want you to be in any doubt.
We'll show you...

- but we'll need the sofa as a prop.
- Oh, certainly.

- Why don't you stand over there?
- With pleasure, of course.

- Come and kiss me, darling.
- I beg your pardon?

- That's your line.
- Oh. Thank you very much.

Come on, Noël.
Come on.

In for a penny, in for a pound.

- Comfy?
- Mm-hmm.

'Remember the row we had in Camry? Your curling
iron burnt a hole in my new dressing gown.

It burned my comb, too, and
all the towels in the bathroom."

Have a look in there.

Wow wee!

Oh, stop it. Stop it.

Les anglais...

never underrate them.

Uh, thank you.

The only other scene that worries me
is the argument at the end of Act II.

That involves the other two characters.
The whole point is their entrance.

I wonder, sir. Uh...

Would you be Victor
and you be Sybil?

- Yes! Look, you come in through this door over... here.
- Well, I haven't...

- But there isn't a door here.
- Well, I'll show you in.

- All right?
- Hmm.

- From "This is the end."
- All right.

Are you ready?
Everything you've got.

This is the end, do you understand?
Finally and forever!

- You're not going! You're not!
- Oh, yes, I am! I am!

Let go of me.

You're a cruel fiend,
and I hate and I loathe you!

You're on.

Thank God I found out in time what
you're really like. Marry you again?

- Never, never, never!
- I'd rather die in torment!

Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!

Oh, I wouldn't marry you again!

- Good God!
- I wouldn't marry you again!

Get off me!

You're not supposed to be laughing, sir.
We're Victor and Sybil...

and we're on our
honeymoons with them.

What are you doing here?

- I'm on honeymoon.
- How interesting. So am I.

- I hope you're enjoying it.
- It hasn't started yet.

Neither has mine.

- Are you happy?
- Perfectly.

- Are you?
- Ecstatically.

- What's her name?
- Sybil.

Sybil. Have you known her long?

For about four months.
We met at a house party in Norfolk.

- Very flat, Norfolk.
- There's no need to be unpleasant.

It was no reflection on her,
unless she made it flatter.

Your voice takes on an acid quality
whenever you mention her name.

- I'll never mention it again, I swear.
- Good, but I'll keep off yours.

- Thank you.
- Not at all.

That orchestra has
a remarkably small repertoire.

It's strange how potent
cheap music is.

You always had
a sweet voice, Amanda.

Here we are, starting afresh
with two quite different people...

in love all over again, aren't we?

- Aren't we? Elyot.
- No.

We're not in love all over again,
and you know it.

- Good night, Amanda.
- Elyot, don't be silly. Come back.

We won't talk about ourselves. We'll talk
about outside things, anything you like.

- Just don't leave me until I've pulled myself together.
- Very well.

- What have you been doing lately during these past years?
- I went around the world...

- Yes. Yes, how was it? Yes.
- The world?

- Highly enjoyable.
- China must be very interesting.

- Very big, China. Very small.
- And Japan?

Did you eat sharks' fins and take your
shoes off and use chopsticks and everything?

- Practically everything.
- And India, the burning gauze, or gats, or whatever.

And the Taj Mahal!
How was the Taj Mahal?

Unbelievable.
A sort of dream.

That was the moonlight, I expect.
You must have seen it in the moonlight.

Yes. Moonlight can be
cruelly deceptive.

It didn't look like a biscuit box,
did it? I've always felt it might.

- Darling, I do love you so.
- I do hope you met a sacred elephant there.

Lint white, I believe,
and very, very sweet.

I've never loved
anyone else for an instant.

And you love me too, don't you?

There isn't any doubt
about it anywhere.

Is there?

No.

No doubt anywhere.

- Congratulations!
- Thank you, darling.

Perfection hardly describes it.

Dorothy, be sure everybody in the company
gets their presents before they leave.

- Thank you, dear.
- Gertie, your Amanda will live forever.

Goddess!
Descend from Mount Olympus.

Alec.

Well, my courage failed me
at the sticking point.

- May I introduce Mr. Richard Aldrich?
- How do you do?

- He is a banker from New England.
- How do you do?

- Let me give you a hand.
- I'm terribly sorry! Awfully sorry.

Uh, Mr. Richard Aldrich...

this is Sir Anthony Spencer,
Mr. Ben Mitchell.

Oh, God, there are
too many of you.

You'll have to introduce
yourselves. Noël!

Darling!

So clever, Noël.
A divine play.

One of the more ridiculous clichés
is that there's safety in numbers.

Hmm? Oh, boo.

The '30s brought the Depression...

and the problem of ever-increasing
unemployment to England.

Many people suggested
many solutions.

We have lost the way, my friends.

We must turn to the good Lord easy,
hard though he's been.

Cast off the chains
of capitalism.

Workers unite!
Down with the employers!

To build, we must first destroy!

Oh, rubbish!

Absolute rubbish,
balderdash and poppycock!

Oh, I do beg her ladyship's pardon,
I'm sure. Take a good look, comrades.

A lovely example
of the moneyed classes.

Hear, hear!
This is my platform!

Do as he says, comrades.
Take a good look.

Get this! Get in closer!

Just 'cause you've got a bloody ocelot coat on,
doesn't mean you can take my bloody platform.

- Oh, come on.
- And just 'cause you was born in bloody Mayfair...

Listen, ducks. I was born
in bloody Clapham.

This here's a bloody mink.
I paid for it my bloody self!

- It's Gertrude Lawrence!
- Hello, Gertie!

- How's your Rolls Royce, Gertie?
- Give the girl a chance!

- All right, you capitalist lackey. Get off!
- Oh, belt up!

- Let her have her say!
- Listen to me, comrades.

I know what it's like to be hungry, and
I know what it's like to be out of a job.

- I'll bet you do.
- But it's no use moaning and wailing.

What you've got to do is cheer
yourselves up! Right?

Right, then. Who wants to come
to the theater tonight?

Oh, God. Fifteen bob a bleedin' ticket,
and hire your own dinner jacket.

On the house, with a couple of drinks
apiece and free sandwiches in the bar.

She's seducing you, mates! Now I'm
warning you. She's seducing you.

Listen, mate. It's my money.
And if I want to spend it...

it's none of your
bleedin' business, is it?

All right, then. Who wants to come?

- Miss Gertrude Lawrence?
- Uh, yes?

- Oh, so sorry. No hands.
- Oh. Allow me.

- Thank you.
- May I say how much I enjoyed Private Lives?

- How sweet of you. Uh, what is this?
- A writ, Miss Lawrence.

It's been such
a pleasure to meet you.

A writ, Miss Lawrence, is a means by
which someone to whom money is owed...

can obtain it without recourse
to more drastic action.

It is precisely to avoid such further
action being taken against you.

- Whoops!
- Oh.

- Miss Lawrence.
- I'm so sorry, Mr. Holtzmann.

Darling, I think you'd be a lot safer
on the swings. You run along now.

- Now, you were saying?
- It is simply...

- The nice bloke with a "Sir" to his name says he's got to go.
- Oh, dear.

- Please excuse me, Mr. Holtzmann. I shan't be long.
- Gertie.

David Holtzmann
is a very busy man.

When I made this appointment for you,
you promised me you were free.

I was, darling!
But how was I to know...

that Tony was going to be made governor
of some wretched Indian province?

I'm not psychic.

Jeannie, give Mr. Holtzmann
an enormous glass of champagne.

I'll be back in a jiffy.

I'm completely fascinated by everything
you're telling me. Come along, darling.

Fascinated.

I may be a little slow
on the uptake...

but what have all these
strange-looking children got to do...

with Sir Anthony Spencer's
departure for India?

My dear David,
don't expect logic from Gertie.

Their fathers are unemployed,
and she's giving a party for them.

- Sheer coincidence.
- Miss Lawrence is very aware of social problems.

Well, it's a great pity she isn't
equally aware of financial ones.

There. I've persuaded Tony
to wait a little longer.

Now, Mr. Holtzmann, I can give you
five uninterrupted minutes.

You are not giving me
five minutes, Miss Lawrence.

I am not a theatrical audience.

My time is extremely valuable,
and you are paying for it.

What a delicious extravagance.

Has it ever occurred to you that you're
living entirely beyond your means?

Well, Jeannie takes care
of all my financial affairs.

Then, perhaps you'd be
good enough to explain...

why Miss Lawrence has been served
with five writs for unpaid accounts?

Well, I... Well, I don't like to
worry her with things like bills.

So...

Well, I don't show them to her.

What do you do with them?

- Well.
- What?

I tear them up.

- You should be ashamed of yourself!
- Please don't be offensive.

So should you, Miss Lawrence. This country's
in the middle of a serious recession...

and you persist in living in a totally
unrealistic and spendthrift manner.

- It's disgraceful.
- It's my money. I've earned it! I've a right to spend it!

Furthermore, if you insist
on disregarding my advice...

you'll find yourself in well-deserved
and very serious trouble.

I won't listen to this.

On the day that Tony's leaving, too.
It's cruel!

I can't stand it. I won't! I refuse to
be subjected to this kind of treatment.

Drink deep, David.
You'll need it.

I think perhaps you'd better retain
some other attorney.

I know. She's maddening
and infuriating.

- Oh, Noël.
- Shut up.

But she's also probably the most
beautiful and entrancing creature...

ever to walk onto a stage.

Glamor is a very overworked
and quite indefinable word...

but I think the world could do with a
little more of her brand of it at the moment.

Please.
Don't desert her, David.

Say good-bye to Pamela
for me, will you?

She should've been here today,
but, oh, she had something to do.

- I wish you didn't have to go.
- I'm sorry, darling, but time's up.

- But I shan't see you again.
- All you have to do is come to India.

Oh, how thrilling.
I could live in your palace.

I'm only going to be governing a small
province, not the whole British Raj.

It's so far away.
It's halfway around the world.

It's up to you, G.
Always has been.

- Yes.
- I love you. You know that.

Sometimes I think
I even understand you.

Darling, darling Tony.

Let's face it, love.
I'd never make a governor's lady.

- Bye.
- Bye.

- That's a Rolls, ain't it?
- Yes.

God, some people have
a lot, don't they?

- Stop here, please.
- Yes, sir.

- What for?
- It would be a little tactless for a potential bankrupt...

to park her Rolls-Royce
right outside the court.

I want to tell them about it. It's my car.
It's an asset, isn't it, Mr. Holtzmann?

Miss Lawrence, please.
Allow me to handle the case.

Gertrude.

Now, don't overplay the gestures,
Gertie. Hands rooted to the sides.

That's what he always tells me at
rehearsals. He's such a brilliant director.

- One last word, Miss Lawrence.
- Oh, how macabre!

- I feel like Mary, Queen of Scots.
- Do not, I beg of you...

under any circumstances
whatever, open your mouth.

Even if the judge
invites you to speak...

please, please,
say absolutely nothing.

Is there anything
the defendant wishes to say?

Very well.

My lord.

Yes?

I have listened to the wisdom
of these learned gentlemen...

and I can no longer
remain silent.

I speak with dignity, I hope...

with regret, I assure you...

and with remorse
from my innermost heart.

Oh, my God.

I have lived only for today...

with no thought of tomorrow.

I have enjoyed the fleshpots of life
and denied its realities.

My cup has been full...

but its dregs are bitter.

It has been said that
my dear friend Jeannie Banks...

may have been careless
in her handling of my financial affairs.

Not so, my lord.

The blame is mine
and mine alone.

I shall leave this court
a poorer woman...

but, I trust, a wiser one.

Poverty will be
both a challenge...

and a purification.

I pray that
I may rise to the one...

and be worthy of the other.

- Uh.
- Shh!

As Ben Johnson wrote, my lord...

"My endeavors have ever come
too short of my desires."

Shakespeare.

And, yet...
And, yet...

- Uh, my lord.
- Shh!

The quality of mercy
is not strained.

It dropeth as the gentle
rain from heaven...

upon the place beneath.

It is twice blessed. It...

It...

It blesses him that gives...

and him that takes,
Miss Lawrence.

Oh.

However, I shan't take too much.

I shall allow you...

L10 per week spending money.

But they're going to pay me L400 a week
to star in Nymph Errant.

Speaking as a theatergoer,
I'm sure you'll earn every penny of it.

- Why, thank you, my lord.
- However...

you do owe L24,000.

Good cripes.

I couldn't have put it better myself,
Miss Lawrence.

For all our sakes, may I wish you
every success with your new show.

Why, thank you, my lord.

Men.

- Men.
- Men.

- Men.
- Men.

- Men.
- Men.

Hello, darlings!

- Wonderful performance, darling.
- Thank you, darling.

- Oh, what a divine coat.
- Isn't it gorgeous?

- Absolutely terrific, Gertie. Loved the show.
- Thank you, darling.

- Awfully nice.
- My dear Gertie, you were absolutely marvelous.

Oh, you angel.
Thank you, Dorothy. Thank you.

- Hello. What did you think of it?
- It was a wonderful opening.

- Mm-hmm.
- Pity you had to spoil it.

- What do you mean?
- All of this.

Oh, stop criticizing, darling.

- The judge didn't say I had to act like a penitent nun.
- No, dear.

- But he did say you had to pay off your debts, didn't he?
- Yes, but...

Dressing like the Queen of Sheba,
buying drinks you can't afford...

for sycophantic people you don't like
isn't going to do it, is it?

- Not now, Noël.
- Yes, Gertie. Now.

This isn't a pretty little part
you're playing. It's deadly earnest.

If you don't face up to this
responsibility, you will go to jail.

All right. All right.

I'll show you and David Holtzmann
and the judge and the whole damn court.

You'll see what work is,
just you bloody well wait!

Quiet.

But I want you to understand...

that in making up my mind...

I did not forget the country...

or the empire...

which as prince of Wales...

and lately as king...

I have for 25 years...

tried to serve.

But you must believe me
when I tell you...

that I have found it
impossible...

to carry the heavy burden
of responsibility...

and to discharge
my duties as king...

as I would wish to do...

without the help and support...

of the woman I love.

The king went on to say
that the decision was his alone.

We understand that he is
now crossing the channel...

on his way to France
in the destroyer Fury.

Come in.

Boo, you pretty creature.

Congratulations, my darling. The nurse
said that you would have a glass of this...

to celebrate the fact that
you are no longer a bankrupt.

Mmm. "Thank you
for your kind thoughts,"

as the corpse
said to the mourners.

In a few weeks, you'll be bouncing
about all over the place.

- I've been extremely ill.
- I know that.

It's the only time I've ever been
quite certain that you weren't acting...

when you were
totally unconscious.

Why not take a holiday?

- What, again?
- Well, the last one was five years ago.

Nowhere to go.
No one I want to see.

Charming, thank you.

Except for you, of course.

- Except for you, I'm alone.
- Nonsense.

This hospital is constantly besieged
by throngs of feverish admirers.

Well, I don't want them.

What do you want?

- To be loved, I suppose.
- You are, my darling.

And to love?

Oh, I don't know.

Perhaps I'm just growing old.

Never. Perhaps
you're just growing up.

Oh, that sounds frightening.

That man who said...

"Don't wish for anything as a kid
because it might come true later."

- He was wrong.
- Was he?

Do you suppose the king wished
for what's happened to him?

Perhaps he just
wished to be happy.

Yes.

- Yes.
- Everyone does.

And as soon as we can get you out of that
bed, you and I are going to help them.

Wait a minute. This way.

Go ahead.

- Hello, hello, hello.
- Hello, hello, hello, yes?

- Would you tell me something, please?
- What is it?

- Who walks like this?
- I'm fascinated to know.

Tell me. Who walks like that?

I do!

- Now then.
- Now then what?

- I suppose you don't know. You mucked up the whole exit.
- It wasn't my fault.

- Whose fault was it then, Mussolini's?
- Oh, I see. Funny, eh?

I suppose you didn't drop your prop,
did you? And having dropped it...

you didn't have to go back for it,
leaving me to prance off by myself.

- Who do you think you are, a riddler?
- The exit's too quick.

- It's the same as it's always been.
- It's too quick, I tell you.

It's been too quick the whole week.
The whole number's too quick.

- Bentley takes that number to the same tempo he's always done.
- You and your Bert Bentley.

Just because he sends you a Welsh rarebit
at the queen's, you think he's God almighty.

Bert Bentley's the best conductor
in the north of England.

- Don't you make any mistake about it.
- Best conductor, my foot.

I suppose he thinks it's funny to see us
leapin' up and down like a couple of greyhounds.

If you're a greyhound,
I'm Fred Astaire.

You're Fred Astaire, all right,
with a bit of Pavlova thrown in.

There's nothing you can't do,
except behave like a gentleman.

So you expect me to behave
like a gentleman, do you?

- That's a good one, coming from you.
- Oh, shut up.

- You make me tired.
- I make you tired?

I suppose it was me that mucked up the
exit, that dropped me bloody telescope.

- Now, look here, George Pepper.
- Stop George Peppering me.

Why can't you admit it when you're
in the wrong? You mucked up the exit.

- Nobody else did. You did.
- Well, what if I did? It was an accident, wasn't it?

- I didn't do it on purpose.
- Lily, it doesn't matter how or why you did it.

- You did it!
- All right, I did it!

Well, don't do it again!

- Red Peppers, on stage!
- Good God, we're off!

Oh, wait for me.
Wait for me.

New York laughed as London had done.

But here, too, the deeper mood
of the city had changed.

- Miss Lawrence!
- There she is. All aboard, everybody!

- Do you have another play coming up?
- Oh, yes, it's very exciting.

Don't you think this sort of thing
is a bit out-of-date?

What's dated about enjoying life?

Surely, taking busloads
of people to Atlantic City...

belongs to the early '20s
rather than the late '30s.

Didn't your mother ever tell you
never to refer to a lady's age?

Excuse me.

- Would you say I was in the late thirties?
- Definitely not. Early twenties.

I'm referring to the year, Miss Lawrence,
1937. The world's a pretty serious place.

Sweetie, you simply
must see my next show.

Dead straight. Very grim.
Not a song to be heard.

She didn't need songs.
Susan and God was a triumph.

It ran for two seasons.
And the people waiting to buy tickets...

often saw the star
before they saw the show.

On opening night,
Noël Coward sent her a telegram.

"Legitimate at last.
Won't mother be pleased?"

Dorothy! Dorothy!

- Oh, there you are. Has the call come through yet?
- Not yet, Miss Lawrence.

I thought I'd missed it.
I just had to pick that up.

It's for Pamela. It's the most
divine thing. Open it, dear.

Hello? I booked a call
to London, England for 8:00.

It's five minutes past,
and I haven't heard a thing.

I see.
Thank you so much.

If you booked it, it'll come
through soon as it's ready.

London, England
ain't New Jersey, honey.

It'll be hot in Nassau and I don't want
Pamela getting burned. Isn't it divine?

- It'll certainly keep the sun out of her eyes, Miss Lawrence.
- What if she's out somewhere?

- It's 1:00 a.m. In England.
- What?

Oh, God. It'll wake her up.

Hello?

Oh, no. I can't, darling.
I'd love to, but I can't.

Well, it's only 10 days before we go,
and I've got so much to do.

Oh, but, sweetie, this is my first
evening home since the show closed.

And Dorothy's preparing
dinner and everything.

Why can't we do it tomorrow?

Hello? What?

No, you'll have to get off the phone.
It's my call to England.

Get off!

It's coming through.

Shh! Shh!

Hello! Pamela?

Can you hear me, darling? I can't
hear you very well. That's better.

Oh, I didn't.

Oh, angel,
how thoughtless of me.

I can never understand
how it's day here and night there.

Never mind. Listen, darling, I just wanted to
make sure you got the tickets and everything.

Good. The boat leaves South Hampton
at midday on Wednesday.

Be sure you're there by 10:00.
Bring plenty of summer clothes.

We'll be away at least six weeks, darling.
We'll buy lots of lovely things there.

What? Yes, darling, you shall speak,
but let me finish first.

Now, listen. I'll meet you in New York
on Pier 52 on the 14th. Okay?

I'm so excited.
I can hardly wait.

All right. Go ahead.
Your turn.

Oh, but... but... but...

Yes, but surely...

Oh. I see.

Well, that's that then, isn't it?

No, darling, of course not.

Yes, darling,
plenty of other times.

Oh, Pamela,
of course I understand.

Yes, darling. Look, I'll call you
in about a week then.

Yes, let me know
how it all goes.

All right, darling.
Bye-bye, my love.

God bless.
I love you. Yes.

Bye, darling. Bye.

- Miss Pamela's not coming?
- No, she's not.

I'm sure she didn't mean to...

- Please don't be upset, Miss Lawrence.
- I'm not, Dorothy.

Now, run along,
will you, dear? I'm fine.

Hello, Noël?

I've changed my mind.
I'm coming over.

As soon as I've finished
what I'm doing.

Mm-hmm.

- Drink this.
- But I...

- Drink.
- Wha...

- Happy birthday, my darling.
- It's not my birthday.

I know. But you'll be away
playing mother when it is.

So we decided to
celebrate in advance.

We?

- G! Hey, happy birthday!
- Happy birthday, G!

Surprise, surprise.

Well, say something, my darling...
even if it's only good-bye.

- Good-bye.
- G?

Always the great entrance line.

I could kill you.

- Charles.
- Hello, love.

- Darling. How are you?
- Fine.

Uh, my wife.

Oh. You have my unqualified
admiration, Mrs. Fraser.

I've heard so much
about you, Miss Lawrence.

And also my deepest sympathy.

You're tight!

Hello. I'm furious. Ah!

Thank you.

Good to see you again,
Miss Lawrence.

- Hmm?
- Richard Aldrich.

Oh, yes.

Yes. You're a stockbroker,
and we met in Philadelphia.

I'm a banker,
and we met in London.

Oh, don't argue.
I can't stand people who argue.

- Who let him in?
- Alec Woollcott brought him.

Alec? Where is he? Alec!

Gertie, you don't look a day older.

Nor do you, my pet.

He looks a hundred.
He always has.

- Angel!
- Ooh, angel.

- Ten years?
- Is it really?

- I can't believe it.
- Neither can I.

Who the hell was that?

- Oh, Alec!
- A goddess.

- A rather inebriated one.
- Huh?

Thank you.

Dear, married Charles.

Why didn't you ask Ben too?

Because dear, married Ben
is on his honeymoon. Now, listen.

- What?
- Behave yourself.

I have no intention
of behaving myself.

You got me here under
false pretenses.

I happen to be suffering
from a certain emotional strain.

I wish to be alone.

Good night, my darlings.

I'm going home.

- G.
- God help anyone who tries to stop me.

Oh. Miss Lawrence.

I've been wanting to talk to you.
I own the Playhouse Theater on Cape Cod.

- Mister...
- Aldrich.

Right. You may, for all I care,
be the presiding genius...

of Carnegie Hall and Drury Lane.

You are also,
I now recall, a banker.

Strong, silent, responsible...

respectable.

You therefore have nothing
in common with actresses...

and I am an actress.

And furthermore...

I'm going home.

Miss Lawrence,
I merely wanted to...

I know what you wanted,
Mr. Aldrich.

- You want me to appear at your little Cape Cod playhouse.
- Miss Lawrence...

- You want me to appear at your little Cape Cod playhouse.
- Miss Lawrence...

To be fair, I do occasionally
do strictly charitable work...

but it does not extend to acting in
country barns in... inaccessible places.

- Miss Lawrence, I assure you...
- No, Mr. Aldrich.

I assure you.
I assure you absolutely.

And now I should like
to ask you a civil question.

What the hell is a bloody banker
doing in the theater anyway?

I wish you good night,
Mr. Aldrich.

Hmm. Faultless timing.

It was a great performance,
my darling.

I must throw another party
for you instantly.

Oh, God.

How many did I actually insult?

Well, nature intervened
before the war became total.

Come in.

- Surprise, surprise.
- I, uh, waited.

Come in. Come in.
I'll fix you a drink.

How do you feel, Miss Lawrence?

- Bloody.
- I stayed so that I could escort you home.

Hmm?

Oh.

Thank you, but I can
manage by myself.

Hmm. I don't think
you should drive.

Then I'll get a taxi.

- Difficult at this hour.
- Tsk.

Then I'll walk.

That is a quite
ridiculous suggestion.

Mr. Aldrich...

if I was rude to you before,
I do apologize...

but if you don't shut up this instant,
I shall be even ruder.

Please, go away.

Certainly. But first
I'd like to make it clear...

that I had no intention of asking you
to appear at my theater.

I simply couldn't afford you.

Then why did you mention
the damn place?

I just wanted to ask your advice
about a play we're doing.

It's called Skylark.

I'm not interested
in your amateur theatricals.

I should also like to, uh...

apologize for upsetting you.

You didn't.

Clearly, Miss Lawrence,
for one reason or another, I did.

Perhaps it's simply because I made the
mistake of talking about myself first.

- What do you mean?
- That you're a star.

- You expect to be treated as one.
- Oh.

Mr. Aldrich...

that kind of remark
went out with Irving.

I think it does still apply to someone
as unsure of herself as you are.

Oh, I love playing truth games,
but only with my friends.

On the contrary, Miss Lawrence, I think
the truth would absolutely terrify you.

That's enough! Who are you
to talk to me like this?

Oddly enough, someone
who both admires and respects you.

Get out!

You know, I should like
to have driven you home.

I hate seeing anyone...

I hate, uh, leaving anyone
so completely alone.

Get out!

I wish you good night,
Miss Lawrence.

Noël!

Completely alone, huh?

Good morning, Miss Lawrence.

Miss Lawrence.

He is absolutely
and utterly impossible.

Whereas I am completely
reasonable and logical.

Miss Lawrence.

Upset me indeed.

- Poppycock!
- Of course.

I am not unsure of myself.
I know exactly what I want.

How do I get to Cape Cod?

In reply to your letter
of the 16th...

I certainly do want to invest
in the London production.

The political situation
may look bad...

but England isn't going to
stop being England just because...

Bravo.
God save the king.

Well, Miss Lawrence.

This is a most
unexpected pleasure.

I never did play Britannia,
but I could always have a go.

Sorry if that sounded pompous, but it
looks like there's gonna be a war in Europe.

- Oh, don't.
- Well, what can I do for you?

I don't know really.
I'd like to see your theater.

Of course.
If you don't mind waiting.

- Waiting?
- I shouldn't be more than 15 minutes.

- Yes, but I came...
- This is the most comfortable chair.

Oh!

September, 1939...

the start of World War II.

Gertrude Lawrence longed to return
to her own country at once...

but previously-agreed-to commitments
prevented her from doing so.

But not from rallying
to the cause of freedom.

You're a very generous lady, madam.
Thank you so much.

- Good heavens. A suitcase.
- How very kind.

- Rather good generosity. Thank you so much.
- I waited!

- I actually sat down and waited for him!
- Fantastic.

- Mr. Coward, such a pleasure.
- Thank you so much, madam.

- We're very grateful.
- I must be mad.

- Of course.
- I'd already ran after him all the way to Cape Cod.

- Incredible.
- Do answer me properly.

You haven't asked me any questions yet.
Thank you so much, madam.

We're very, very grateful.
Thank you.

I said I'd do a play for him before
I start rehearsing Lady in the Dark.

- It's called Skylark.
- Hmm. Highly descriptive. How did he manage to lure you?

Oh, he didn't. I, uh...
I suggested it myself.

God help him.

Oh, damn it.
I don't know what to do.

I think you better go into the theater
at once, Mr. Aldrich.

- Is it, uh...
- Yes.

- That's the whole trouble.
- Miss Lawrence.

Stop saying my name
like a parrot.

- If you'd just listen.
- You listen to me.

I'm trying to tell this man
I'm gonna leave him.

How can I say that when he
insists on treating me...

like a cross between a Dresden
shepherdess and a vestal virgin?

- We seem to have a slight area of confusion.
- You're damn right we have!

Mr. Aldrich,
I appeal to you.

We are married. I am determined to
leave you. You are determined to stop me.

- What would you do?
- As I'm not directing the play...

Miss Lawrence, I can't help you.

I am going out of that door...
out of your life forever.

I am leaving you,
and I'm leaving now.

See what I mean? I'd simply have to
stay with a man like that, wouldn't I?

I suggest you get on
with the rehearsal...

and stop wasting everyone's time
with cheap jokes, Miss Lawrence.

You bastard.

I have never been so
insulted in my whole life!

- Never, never, never!
- Stop overacting, calm down and tell me all about it.

Anybody else would have laughed!

He's got no sense of humor,
and, what's worse, he's a coward.

He's left me alone
in this damn cottage...

and hasn't dared
come near the place.

He's a stuffed shirt. He's rude,
overbearing, pompous... completely impossible.

I can't wait to finish this damn play
and get out of here.

I think my dinner's arrived.

They send it over on a tray. It's
like feeding animals at a bloody zoo.

I wondered if you'd care
to have dinner with me.

Frankly, I'd rather starve.

- Miss Lawrence...
- My name is Gertrude.

It's a good, common,
straightforward one, like my jokes.

- With regard to what happened...
- Oh, do stop talking like a contract.

- It's not that I'm afraid of being laughed at.
- Mr. Aldrich...

there is nothing you could say or do at
this moment which would make me laugh.

- Marry me.
- What?

I mean it.
I want you to marry me.

Through the gales of hysterical
laughter, did I hear him propose to you?

Yes.

Then he's certainly
not a coward.

Either he's the bravest man born, or
he has the most superb sense of humor.

For his sake, I hope it's both.

And what's more, I shall be leaving one
minute after the curtain falls on Saturday!

Miss Lawrence, right this way, please.
Thank you.

- Is it true you're having trouble with the show?
- How about that cartoon?

- Does it worry you?
- It's a long time since you've done a musical.

- Are you scared?
- I'm shaking all over.

- What's your idea of a perfect wedding?
- A perfect man, dear.

- Have you found him?
- If I had, my lamb...

I'd be doing something far more interesting
than slaving my head off at places like this.

Good-bye, darlings.
I've gotta go back to work.

- That's all, fellas.
- All right. Break it up.

- Gertrude.
- What are you doing here?

I must talk to you.

This is a theater... a real theater.
It's where I work.

That can wait.

It can't, Richard.
I'm sorry, but it can't.

It never could wait.
That's always been the trouble.

For a moment there I thought
you'd broken the pattern. Pity.

"My Ship"?

Okay. Let's
take that one first.

- From the top, Jack. Okay?
- Righto.

Okay.

That's fine, darling.
That's just fine.

Let's try "Jenny," please.

I'd rather not.
Haven't we done enough for one day?

We should do it just once more.
Let's get right to the chorus, okay?

All right. Okay.

Those of us who wish to live in peace
should now leave.

Oh, God.

It's no good. The lyrics are terrible.
The music's lousy...

the production's hopeless,
and that swing's a bloody abomination.

- G., please.
- Go to hell.

Noël. Noël,
you've gotta help me.

- Gertrude.
- I can't do it.

- Gertrude.
- I just can't do it.

Stop it!

- Stop acting.
- What?

Stop acting.

I'm sorry, Richard.
I... I'm just so...

- Frightened.
- Yes.

- We're all going out to dinner.
- I don't want to go to dinner.

- Come along.
- I want to go home.

You don't begin to understand. I've
got to do "Jenny," and I don't know how.

- Noël, tell him.
- Get in.

- I refuse.
- You'll do exactly as I tell you. Get in.

- Admirable.
- This isn't your miserable Cape Cod, you know.

- It's Broadway.
- Shut up, Gertie. Get in.

You don't understand.
None of you understands.

Is this a mystery tour,
or may one inquire one's destination?

- The Cotton Club.
- Oh, my God. He's insane.

- This is ridiculous.
- It's a complete waste of time.

What on earth are we doing here?

I should be working
on that damn song.

Noël, why don't you
say something?

You haven't drawn breath,
my sweet.

I know you're trying to take
my mind off it, but it's no use.

It won't work.

Oh, you don't begin to understand.
Neither of you understands.

I'm the one that's gotta be
up on that stage... me.

I've gotta face an audience
and sing a song...

and I just
don't know... how.

You're a very clever man.

Oh, you bastard.

The opening night of
Lady in the Dark...

Gertrude Lawrence's return
to the musical theater.

The show got off to a great start, but the
big question mark was the dream sequence.

There had been rumors
of difficulties and trouble.

No one knew what to expect.

Can you give us any reason
why you refuse to make up your mind?

Yes, I can.

C'est magnifique!

Qué bonita!

That night this audience,
like so many before them...

and so many still to come,
witnessed a theatrical miracle.

They saw
Gertrude Lawrence... star.

A few days later...

at a quiet private ceremony
at Cape Cod...

she married Richard Aldrich...

and Noël Coward
sent one more telegram.

'Dear Mrs. A., Hooray, hooray.

"At last you are deflowered.

'On this, as every other day,
I love you.

Noël Coward. '

Well?

- The telegram was true.
- Is that all?

Whatever else I've said, forget it.
Don't change a thing.

Leave it just the way it is.

Just the way it was.

Whoo.

Richard.

- Yeah?
- I shouldn't have done it.

- What?
- Married you.

Don't worry. Divorce is
quite simple in America.

Oh, cripes.

- You don't mean that, do you... about divorce?
- I mean everything I say.

Well, I don't.
I just think I do at the time.

Good.

- Your trouble is you've got no sense of...
- Humor?

Worse.
No sense of occasion.

You should know that
when a lady's just been married...

she's in a highly emotional state
and treat her accordingly.

- "Accordingly"?
- Yes.

Don't imagine you can
get round me by just being nice.

I may not be as clever as you...

but I haven't been
an actress for nothing.

I know an awful lot more about life
and men than most people.

And I know the only things
that matter are...

understanding and happiness...

and being absolutely genuine
all the bloody time!