Cecil Parker

Storm in a Teacup (1937)

Storm in a Teacup 1937

Vickie Gow (Vivien Leigh) is the daughter of Provost Willie Gow (Cecil Parker).  Willie is in the midst of campaigning to be nominated for a seat on the Town Council.  When journalist Frank Burdon (Rex Harrison) goes to a meeting to interview Willie, he sits near Vickie and accidentally makes a bad impression on her when he makes some disparaging remarks about her father.  During Frank’s interview with Willie, he witnesses Frank being very cold to Honoria Hegarty (Sara Allgood), a poor woman whose dog the city has taken away because she can’t afford to license it.  Even Vickie thinks Willie’s behavior was uncalled for.

Rather than publish the interview as planned, Frank decides to make his story all about how horribly Willie has treated Honoria.  After the newspaper hits the stands, the town overwhelmingly sides with Honoria and Willie becomes a joke.  When Willie tries to deliver a speech, a riot nearly breaks out and the crowd barks at him until he leaves the stage.  Naturally, Willie isn’t very fond of Frank, which makes things difficult for Frank and Vickie since they have fallen in love with each other.  Willie wants Frank to sign a retraction for his article, but Frank refuses and the whole thing escalates into an all-out war between them.

During an important dinner at Willie’s house, Frank lets a huge bunch of dogs loose into the house, costing Willie his nomination. Willie has Frank arrested, they end up going to court, and it’s expected that Vickie will be called to testify.  Just as her time comes, Vickie announces that she can’t testify because she is married to Frank.  This isn’t true, but Willie has to go along with it or Vickie will be tried for perjury.  Willie puts a stop the whole trial and is able to get back to work in politics while Vickie and Frank actually do get married.

I’m glad I decided to check out Storm in a Teacup.  It’s a very British film, so if you enjoy British humor, it’s a pretty entertaining movie.  It was interesting to see Vivien Leigh and Rex Harrison together, both of them were fairly early in their film careers at the time.  They do a fine job in it and Cecil Parker made a very good adversary for Rex Harrison.  Simply put, it’s a pleasant little movie.  Smart, witty, and worth watching if only to see two stars on their way up in the world.

The Ladykillers (1955)

The Ladykillers Poster

Louisa Wilberforce (Katie Johnson) is a lonely, old woman.  She lives alone with her parrots and passes her time by watching her neighbors and concocting wild stories about them to report to the police.  The police politely listen to her tales, but realize they’re just nonsense and don’t act on them.

Louisa’s life starts getting more eventful when Professor Marcus (Alec Guinness) comes to her house looking to rent a room.  He tells her he is part of a musical group and they would like to use the room as a practice space.  She agrees and doesn’t think anything of it when Major Courtney (Cecil Parker), Harry Robinson (Peter Sellers), “One Round” Lawson (Danny Green), and Louis Harvey (Herbert Lom) start showing up at her house carrying instruments.  What she doesn’t realize is they are actually bank robbers planning to rob an armored van.

The gang pulls off their heist and even manages to trick Louisa into picking the money up for them from the train station.  However, they aren’t able to keep their secret from Louisa for long and even though the gang manages to convince her to not call the police, they decide there’s only one thing they can do — kill her.  However, the only thing they manage to kill is themselves.  With the gang all dead, Louisa is now left with the stolen money and when she tries to turn it in to the police, they don’t believe her story.

I got a real kick out of The Ladykillers.  With my somewhat dark sense of humor, this was right up my alley.  It’s very well written and the cast is brilliant — what more could you possibly want?  I’m actually at kind of a loss for words about The Ladykillers because I really liked the movie, but I don’t think words can really do justice to how funny it is and how amazing the cast is.  It’s the kind of movie you really have to see to believe.