Lilacs in the Spring (1954)

aka Let’s Make Up
Article 2619 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-6-2008
Posting Date: 10-14-2008
Directed by Herbert Wilcox
Featuring Errol Flynn, Anna Neagle, David Farrar
Country: UK

An actress is torn between her love for two men. She dreams she’s various historical characters, and also dreams she’s her own mother.

“The Motion Picture Guide” classifies this one as a fantasy, which just goes to show that the writers of that book have a very different definition of “fantasy” than I do. Nothing really fantastic happens in the dream sequences; in fact, other than the one where she relives her own mother’s life, I’m not sure what point the other dream sequences have (and, for that matter, I’m not sure about the mother sequence either). Actually, I suppose I do; my mistake is that I keep expecting them to have something to do with the plot (which is airy and slight). No, the real reason is to give Anna Neagle as many opportunities to perform dances as possible; despite the fact that Errol Flynn gets top billing, this is first and foremost a star vehicle for Neagle; in the sequence where she’s Queen Victoria, it gives her the opportunity to dance the waltz, and in the sequence as her mother (who was an actress, singer, and dancer), she gets to do a variety of period dances, including a Charleston at one point. You know, I can’t think of many musicals at all that were made in Britain; this one certainly seems to lack the pizzazz of the American musicals. I saw the full British version of the movie; the American version of this movie ran a good 22 minutes shorter, and I’m willing to bet that it emphasized the mother sequence, which is the only part of the movie in which Flynn appears extensively. Incidentally, this is the only Errol Flynn movie I’ve seen for this series; it’s a shame that it is hardly representative of his work. And those of you who look up the movie and see the name of Peter Graves, it’s not James Arness’s brother, but a British actor with the same name. Apparently, Sean Connery has a small role in here somewhere; if you find him, you were luckier than I was.


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