French Without Tears

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Kay Hammond & Roland Culver in the original Criterion Theatre production,1936

French Without Tears is a comic play written by a 25 year old Terence Rattigan in 1936. It takes place in a cram school for adults needing to acquire French for business reasons. The play was a success on its London debut, establishing Rattigan as a dramatist. Critics thought it 'gay, witty, thoroughly contemporary ... with a touch of lovable truth behind all its satire'.[1] It ran for over 1,000 performances in London and over 100 in New York.[2] It also established Rex Harrison as a major star. Scattered throughout are Franglais phrases and schoolboy misunderstandings of the French language.

It was made into a film of the same name in 1940, directed by Anthony Asquith and starring Ray Milland.[3]

A television production was featured in the BBC's Play of the Month series in May 1976, which stars Nigel Havers, Anthony Andrews, and David Robb.[4]