The Reluctant Debutante (1958)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
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as Jimmy Broadbent
as Mabel Claremont
as Jane Broadbent
as Clarissa Claremont
as David Parkson
as Sheila Broadbent
as David Fenner
as English Colonel
Critic Reviews for The Reluctant Debutante
A vintage drawing-room comedy that's flimsy, lacks any edge and plays out as an exercise in high style Brit comedy.
Pedestrian Minneli comedy headlining Rex Harrison.
Minnelli's comedy about the British upper class is one of his least successful films due to incongruous casting of all-American Sandra Dee as the daughter of Rex Harrison and Kay Kendall.
Audience Reviews for The Reluctant Debutante
Kay and Rex sparkle like the sun, hard to believe she was dying while this was being made. Angela Lansbury provides solid support and John Saxon and Sandra Dee made a handsome couple, but it is really Kay Kendall's movie all the way.
I couldn't stop laughing! The parents are silly and my favorite part is near the end of the movie- it's ridiculous! I loved it and i want to see it again! I have only seen it once.
Oh, for the days of coming out parties. It's rather surprising to me that the new connotation of "coming out" hasn't brought the the idea of debutante balls (aka coming out parties) into vogue within ther gay community. Wouldn't it be marvelous? A young homosexual man* comes to terms with his sexuality and on the summer after his seventeenth birthday, his parents through a party with lots of other young well-attired male homosexuals. Terrif, n'est-ce pas? The straight, 1950s version of the above is more or less the world of the film at hand (MGM, 1958). Sandra Dee is Rex Harrison's daughter from his first marriage. Harrision's new wife, Kay Kendall (Harrison's real-life wife) decides that Gidget must have a coming out party, for reasons that are never really specified. It's either because Kendall didn't get a deb ball due to WW2, or to show up Angela Lansbury (during the Movie Bitch phase of her career, who she doesn't really like in the first place, but whose daughter is coming out that summer. Either way, hilarity ensues. I guess. This is far from a great film, but it is a good film and I enjoyed myself. Kendall plays one of those mother types that is fun to watch in a comedy, but would be horrible to actually know; in this respect she reminded me a great deal of Jennifer Saunders in [i]AbFab[/i]. The best joke in the piece is that she spends the first act in dresses that can only be described as Nancy Reagan Red, while forcing her step-daughter to live a life she simply doesn't care for or about. This of course could not have been intentional, but it was still funny as hell. Rex Harrision has most of the best lines, but I suspect they only came off that way because of his delivery. Angela Lansbury is, of course, perfect. The second funniest joke is that and orchestral "The Boy Next Door" is used as one of the songs at the balls. Of course, that's only funny if I mention the film was directed by Vincente M I double-N then E double-L I, the director of [i]Meet Me in St. Louis[/i], for which the song was written. You may have noticed by now that the two best jokes had nothing whatever to do with the script. You're so observant. Have a cookie. Still, it's not a bad way to spend 100 minutes. *This could all apply to young lesbians, but since I never was one, I can't speak of that experience.
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