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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Upstairs And Downstairs (1959)

Setting up housekeeping, a newlywed couple (Michael Craig, Anne Heywood) have the most difficult time finding a suitable domestic. After going through several disasters including a hot tempered Italian tart (Claudia Cardinale) who doesn't speak English to a secretly boozing spinster (a hilarious Joan Hickson), they settle on a Swedish au pair girl (Mylene Demongeot, BONJOUR TRISTESSE) and that's when the trouble really starts. For most of its running time, this is a delightful comedy with plentiful laughs. For some reason, it gets all serious and sentimental toward the end but it's a small price to pay for the breezy fun to be had up to then. The dinner party sequence with a drunken Joan Hickson serving dinner ranks up there with the Hattie McDaniel sequence in ALICE ADAMS. Ralph Thomas directs. The polished supporting cast includes Daniel Massey, Barbara Steele, James Robertson Justice, Shirley Anne Field, Margalo Gillmore, Irene Handl and Eric Pohlmann.

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