Review: ‘First a Girl’

Jessie Matthews' admirers will love to see her rise from her humdrum niche in a dressmaking establishment to the giddy heights of thespian glory.

Jessie Matthews’ admirers will love to see her rise from her humdrum niche in a dressmaking establishment to the giddy heights of thespian glory.

Though always longing for a stage career, her precipitous plunge comes about accidentally. She pals up with an aspiring Shakespearean actor, in reality a female impersonator. While sheltering her, he gets a wire giving him an unexpected date, which sudden loss of voice makes it impossible for him to accept. He coaches the bewildered girl and insists she take his place.

The variety hall is an awful dump. Billed, and trading, on the doubt concerning her sex, and carefully managed by her new partner, the act is a hit and she quickly makes a name.

The former wealthy customer, a ‘princess’ and her boyfriend become friendly with the couple, but suspect she is really a girl and trick her by stalling on a motor trip to the Riviera, forcing her to share a room at a wayside inn with the two men.

Sonnie Hale plays the impersonator and gives an air of sincerity to a rather dubious situation. The boyfriend (Griffith Jones) has charm and a quiet dignity. The starring role is a natural for Jessie Matthews, where her dancing is unobtrusively displayed.

First a Girl

UK

Production

Gaumont British. Director Victor Saville; Producer Michael Balcon; Screenplay Marjorie Gaffney; Camera Glen MacWilliams; Editor A. Barnes; Music Louis Levy (dir.); Art Director Oscar Werndorff

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1935. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Jessie Matthews Sonnie Hale Anna Lee Griffith Jones Alfred Drayton Constance Godridge
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