Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris

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Front cover art for the book Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris
1958 U.K. edition

Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris is the title of a Paul Gallico novel originally published in 1958. In the United Kingdom, it was published as Flowers for Mrs Harris. It was the first in a series of four books about the adventures of a London charwoman.

The plot revolves around Ada Harris, who is so enchanted by her employer's couture wardrobe that she becomes determined to go to the House of Dior in Paris to purchase an evening gown of her own. She achieves her goal with the assistance of a French marquis, who is instrumental in getting Mrs. Harris an invitation to the design house and becomes a long-term friend as do a series of other characters revealed to have hidden hearts. The comic tale takes on a final poignant overtone when the dress is loaned to an up-and-coming actress, with disastrous consequences to the dress. Initially devastated, Mrs. Harris reflects that the experiences she acquired in pursuit of the dress had their own worth.

Subsequent titles in the series are Mrs. 'Arris Goes to New York (1960), Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Parliament (1965), and Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Moscow (1974). (The original U.K. titles were Mrs Harris Goes to New York, Mrs Harris MP, and Mrs Harris Goes to Moscow.)

In 'New York,' the French Count re-appears and, again, all but one or two characters reveal hidden hearts.

In 'Parliament,' Mrs Harris finds that being nice, kind and hopeful does not always lead to people being nice and kind in return. There is rather less comedy in this third book.

In 'Moscow,' Mrs Harris wins a trip there and stumbles onto the Soviet Union's most embarrassing problem: it has bought a cargo of toilet paper that has had to be marked as birdseed.

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations[edit]

The novel was first adapted in 1958 by Studio One theatre, in which British comedienne Gracie Fields played Mrs Arris in an American TV production.

The novel was adapted for a 1992 television movie starring Angela Lansbury, Diana Rigg, and Omar Sharif and directed by Lansbury's son, Anthony Shaw. The movie's production company is Corymore Productions.

External links[edit]