Review: ‘Head Over Heels’

Head over Heels is a topsy-turvy film affair, emulating its title in more than one respect. Of the hybrid Hollywood and Elstree components there's no disputing that, outside of the star's own yeoman work, the Mack Gordon and Harry Revel songs are the most potent contributory factor. So it's just another film, but those click songs are gonna have their good effect.

Head over Heels is a topsy-turvy film affair, emulating its title in more than one respect. Of the hybrid Hollywood and Elstree components there’s no disputing that, outside of the star’s own yeoman work, the Mack Gordon and Harry Revel songs are the most potent contributory factor. So it’s just another film, but those click songs are gonna have their good effect.

Story [from Francois de Croisset’s play, Pierre ou Jack, adapted by Fred Thompson and Dwight Taylor] is one of those things – familiar unto being trite. And the support is no panic, embracing two uncertain juveniles in Robert Flemyng and Louis Borell, the latter as a light-heavy who permits himself to be influenced by the visiting glamour-girl from Hollywood (Whitney Bourne), an American film star looking for a new leading man.

In between, Jessie Matthews is effectively shown as a cafe song-and-dancer, later a radio click, and still later as a cigaret girl when the ire of the Actors’ Association (for a temperamental breach) chases her from the limelight.

Locale is Paris, and the French version of Equity is mentioned periodically as some sort of a bogeyman which keeps irascible troupers hewing the line, even though their own Pagliacci complications upset them emotionally.

Buddy Bradley always does well by Matthews in staging the dance routines; and this alumnus of the late Billy Pierce’s studios in New York (which coached many of the topnotch ingenues of musical comedy in the past decade) has done right by her again. Although her husband, Sonnie Hale, manages fairly well in directing the proceedings, the material calls for inspired niceties to make it stand up. In some spots the camera work is most unflattering to the star.

Head Over Heels

UK

Production

Gaumont-British. Dir Sonnie Hale; Screenplay Marjorie Gaffney, Dwight Taylor; Camera Glen MacWilliams; Editor Al Barnes; Music Louis Levy (dir.) Art Dir Alfred Junge

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1936. Running time: 84 MIN.

With

Jessie Matthews Louis Borell Robert Flemyng Whitney Bourne Romney Brent Paul Leyssac
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