Lyrics by Lorenz
Music by Richard Rodgers
Produced by Charles B. Cochran.
Book by Benn W. Levy, based on an
idea by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.
Directed by Worthington Miner
Starring: Jessie Matthews and Sonnie
Hale, Joyce Barbour and Albert Burdon.
It ran for 254 performances.
Harriet Green (Jessie Matthews), a beloved and radiant
music hall star of the Edwardian era, has a guilty secret She has a baby
daughter, born out of wedlock. Harriet leaves her public and flees to South
Africa to raise her daughter quietly. The years pass, and now her daughter,
Harriet Hawkes (Matthews again) , returns to London as a young show-biz
hopeful. Tommy , a wily publicity man, knowing that young Harriet is a dead
ringer for her famous mother, convinces a theater producer to star her in
a new revue as none other than the original Harriet Green, miraculously
untouched by old age. The ruse works too well. Now the public believes Harriet
is a well-preserved 60-year-old and Tommy is her son. The deception is more
than merely inconvenient, because now Harriet and Tommy have secretly fallen
In the 30s, the English Jessie Matthews, with her big, rabbity smile, her
satin pajamas, and her famous long-legged high kicks, was the closest female
equivalent to Fred Astaire. Musical-comedy lovers used to dream of a pairing
of the two, but, except for Rogers, he was likely to be stuck dragging girls
like Joan Leslie through their paces, while Jessie Matthews stayed in England
and had to carry her movies by solos, or by comic turns with Sonnie Hale.
Here (with Sonnie Hale) she dances exquisitely in a classic British musical—i.e.,
charming but a little extended, and less snappy, noisy, and brash than American
musicals of the same period. She plays a double role—mother and daughter.
Victor Saville directed, from an often witty script by Emlyn Williams and
Marjorie Gaffney, based on Benn W. Levy's play.