· Lilacs in the Spring ·
If I were to use one word to describe this film,
· Let's Make Up·
it would definitely be "flashback".
A young Carol Beaumont (Anna Neagle) experiences dreams over one of her prospective suitors during WWII England after she sustains a concussion during an air raid. When perplexed about her behaviour following one of these fantasies, the fellow (played by David Farrar) decides to hang out at the local pub, where the proprietress explains the young actress's family history in a series of flashbacks: how her parents met and parted, and why Carole has second thoughts about marrying someone else in show business...
...Musical actor John Beaumont (Errol Flynn) fell in love with his co-star and Lillian Grey (Anna Neagle) and helped her to the top of stagedom.
Upon his return from service in the First World War, he finds it impossible to land any parts. When talkies begin, he goes to Hollywood to recover some semblance of dignity and revive his career. Lillian stays behind and their otherwise idealistic marriage comes to an end.
Years later, John is successful in motion pictures and insists that his ex-wife be given a role in his next picture. She accepts to finish out the week of performances and wings over to be reunited with "Beau", until unforseen events changes plans.
There's really not that much more to the film in plot, other than daddy coming to visit when learning about the raid; he gives her some final advice to ensure her future happiness, and Carole joins her love on a plane to entertain troops in Burma.
The film in general is sustained by the pleasant music and enjoyable stage performances, neither of which are overdone. The plot is okay - it's just that nothing really happens.
Errol Flynn & Anna Neagle as Beaumont & Grey in
a serenade which was cut from the film.
Errol Flynn gets to perform in a musical sequence during one of the early flashbacks, and he primarily gets by on charm. Well, he sings better than he did in THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON at any rate. The pivotal moment of truth at the airport - which is unexpected - relies on some degree of acting prowess; the news is revealed during a closeup of Flynn's face, which subtely but most definitely changes mood. Anna Neagle plays the female interests in the fantasy sequences, as well as three generations of Greys/Beaumonts.
This movie was made originally in B+W with colour for the fantasy sequences and flashbacks. The USA versions - released as LET'S MAKE UP - are only available in B+W. The source from which I got this film yielded a murky print with mediocre sound; I understand the version which is offered by Movies Unlimited (see the video page) is not as bad.
Fans of Australian Rules Football: Can anyone tell me whether the Carleton Blues' team song (sung to the tune of "Lady From Laguna") existed before this film - or was the result of it? Hey, you never know!
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