Let's Make Up


1h 34m 1956

Brief Synopsis

A young entertainer, Carole Beaumont (Anna Neagle), is wooed by actor-producer Charles King (David Farrar) but, uncertain of her feelings, she resists his attentions. During an air raid, a bomb explosion rocks the cafe and Carole is knocked unconscious. In her confused state, fantasies flash through her mind, and she seems to become Nell Gwyn of Old Drury, with Charles King looking very much like King Charles. Recovering, she is advised by her doctor to take a rest in the country and, there,another beau, Albert Gutman (Peter Graves), prompts his grandmother, Lady Drayton (Helen Haye), to invite Carole to their family home at Windsor. She accepts and telephones Charles but hangs up when his phone is answered by a female voice. Looking out on Windsor Castle, she sees herself as the young Queen Victoria and Albert as Prince Albert. Influenced by her day-dream, she accepts Albert's proposal. Charles arrives to tell her that all arrangements are made for her to leave with him and the company for Burma, but she refuses saying she will never marry an actor. Barmaid Kate (Kathleen Harrison) tells Charles why Carole feels the way she does about actors: Carole's mother, Lillian Grey (Anna Neagle), was with a touring show in 1913 when the handsome star, John Beaumont (Errol Flynn) raised her from the chorus to be his partner in his first West End show. They were a success, fell in love and were married. But the war soon took Beau off to Flanders and Lillian was left to become a great star on her own. Carole was born in wartime, but saw little of her busy mother.

Film Details

Also Known As
Lilacs in the Spring
Release Date
Feb 1956
Premiere Information
London opening: 24 Dec 1954; Los Angeles opening: 1 Feb 1956
Production Company
Everest Pictures, Ltd.; Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
Elstree, England, Great Britain; Elstree, England, Great Britain
Screenplay Information
Based upon the musical play The Glorious Days by Harold Purcell, original music by Harry Parr Davies, produced by Robert Nesbitt (Manchester, England, 30 Jul 1952).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 34m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)

Synopsis

During World War II, singer and dancer Carole Beaumont is rehearsing in a London theater for one of the units being sent overseas to entertain British soldiers. During a break in rehearsals, Charles King, the unit's producer, invites Carole to have coffee with him, but she explains that her boyfriend, Albert Gutman, is waiting for her in a nearby pub. Meanwhile at the pub, Kate, one of the barmaids, is reminiscing with Albert about the twenty years she spent working as a dresser to Lillian Grey, Carole's mother and star of many West End revues. Charles follows Carole to the pub and finds her talking with George, an old soldier and a resident of the Royal Chelsea Pensioners hospital whose patron saint was courtesan Nell Gwyn. After a V-1 rocket bomb lands nearby, damaging the pub and knocking Carole out, she imagines that she is Nell Gwyn, using her charms to persuade King Charles, who bears a striking resemblance to Charles King, to build a hospital for wounded, retired soldiers. Although Carole recovers consciousness, she continues to experience momentary blackouts. Later, in Hollywood, Carole's father John, formerly a movie star and now a producer, learns of her condition and plans to go to England to see her. Although Charles continues to court Carole, she accepts an invitation from Albert to visit his grandmother, Lady Drayton, at Windsor. There Lady Drayton tells Carole that her husband's father was born on the same day that Prince Albert visited Queen Victoria for the first time at Windsor Castle. When Albert asks Carole to marry him, she gently declines, reassuring him that the rejection has nothing to do with his being half-German, but because she has fallen in love with Charles. However, when Carole phones Charles and a female colleague answers, Carole fears that Charles is unfaithful and she suffers another blackout in which she is a young Queen Victoria and Albert is Prince Albert. Victoria wishes to introduce the waltz to Britain, but Albert is shocked by the impropriety of the dance requiring a man's arm to encircle a woman's waist. Victoria prevails, however, and invites Johann Strauss to play at a successful Royal Ball. Carole is jolted from her reverie by Charles returning her phone call, but she hangs up on him. In Hollywood, John receives a cable from Carole announcing that she is going to marry Albert. After Charles tells Kate that Carole has left him, Kate tells him how Carole's mother met John: Lillian Grey was a dancer in a provincial revue, starring minor, matinee idol John Beaumont. John recognized Lillian's abilities and, when he was offered a London show, took her with him and they fell in love. Lillian rapidly became the star of several major revues. After serving in World War I, John returned to the theater, but while Lillian's career skyrocketed, his declined until he was working only as her manager. They now had a young daughter, Carole, and John decided to try his luck in the new talking pictures in Hollywood. Lillian refused to abandon her career in Britain and after John became a movie star, they divorced. When Carole was a teenager, John returned to Britain on a trip, met Lillian and, after they realized that they still loved each other, Lillian promised to fly to Hollywood at the end of her show's run. However, as John waited for Lillian at the airport, he received news that she had been killed when her plane crashed in Arizona. In London, after Kate finishes telling Charles about Lillian, he returns to his office and runs into Carole who, apparently reassured about Charles's faithfulness, tells him that she has changed her mind about marrying Albert, after which she and Charles embrace. When John arrives, planning to attend her marriage to Albert, Carole explains that she will now be marrying Charles, who is about to leave on a plane to Burma with his troupe. John gives Carole some fatherly advice and urges her to leave with Charles. Later, in Burma, Carole and Charles entertain the troops together.

Film Details

Also Known As
Lilacs in the Spring
Release Date
Feb 1956
Premiere Information
London opening: 24 Dec 1954; Los Angeles opening: 1 Feb 1956
Production Company
Everest Pictures, Ltd.; Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
Elstree, England, Great Britain; Elstree, England, Great Britain
Screenplay Information
Based upon the musical play The Glorious Days by Harold Purcell, original music by Harry Parr Davies, produced by Robert Nesbitt (Manchester, England, 30 Jul 1952).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 34m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Let's Make Up was released as Lilacs in the Spring in Great Britain. The January 5, 1955 Variety review from London stated that the film would be released in the U.S. by United Artists and gave the film's running time as 94 minutes. The review also mentioned two other songs, "Tipperary" and "Lassie from Lancashire," but these were not heard in the British print viewed, which ran 87 minutes. When the film was released in the U.S. under the title Let's Make Up, it was cut to 72 minutes. The opening sequences in the theater and pub were in black and white.
       U.S. financial participation in this film's production has not been confirmed, but it is probable that United Artists was involved. Republic Pictures Corp., with which producer Herbert Wilcox had an earlier co-production arrangement, May also have been involved in the film's production, and released the film in Great Britain. A Hollywood Reporter news item of June 30, 1954 reported that United Artists would release the film in the Western Hemisphere, while Republic handled the Eastern Hemisphere and Britain.
       The Royal Chelsea Hospital was established in 1682 by King Charles II to house soldiers who had become too old or infirm for continued military service. Soldiers who live at the hospital are known as "Chelsea Pensioners." The film was adapted from the theatrical extravaganza The Glorious Days, which ran in London through most of the Coronation year of Queen Elizabeth II, from 27 February to November 7, 1953. The Times review of the show's London opening described it as having "a wondrously complicated story" in which Miss Neagle plays not only historical personages and a modern day character, but also that character's mother. Neagle had portrayed Nell Gywn in the 1935 film of the same name and Queen Victoria in Victoria the Great (1937) and Queen of Destiny (1938), all directed by Wilcox (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40).
       Two humorous allusions to Errol Flynn are included in the film. As "Charles" is about to leave for overseas, "Kate" tells him, "Give my love to Errol Flynn if you see him in Burma." As "Carole" complains that she has no clothes to take with her on her sudden trip to Burma, "John" asks, "What do you want with pajamas in Burma? It's too hot, I should know." Both jokes allude to Flynn's appearance in the controversial 1945 film Objective Burma (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50).

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States March 1954

Released in United States March 1954