Curtain Up

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For the 1944 British children's book by Noel Streatfeild, see Curtain Up (novel). For the 1994 British stage comedy by Peter Quilter, see Curtain Up!
Curtain Up
"Curtain Up".jpg
Pressbook cover
Directed by Ralph Smart
Produced by Robert Garrett
Written by Jack Davies
Michael Pertwee
Based on play by Philip King
Starring Robert Morley
Margaret Rutherford
Kay Kendall
Music by Malcolm Arnold
Cinematography Stanley Pavey
Edited by Douglas Robertson
Constellation Films
Rank Organisation
Release date
  • 12 May 1952 (1952-05-12) (UK)
Running time
81 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Curtain Up is a 1952 British film directed by Ralph Smart, written by Jack Davies and Michael Pertwee.[1] It is based on the play On Monday Next by Philip King.[2]


In an English provincial town, 'Drossmouth', a second-rate repertory company assemble at the Theatre Royal on Monday morning to rehearse the following week's play, a melodrama titled Tarnished Gold.

Harry, their irascible Producer, is highly critical of the play, which has been foisted on him by the Directors of the Company and is unenthusiastic about its prospects. The cast include Jerry, a young and sometimes keen actor, Maud, an widowed actress who was once famous on the West End stage, Sandra, who is waiting for (and receives) a call from a London producer, her philandering and semi-alcoholic husband, and Avis, a timid young girl who is quickly realising that acting is not for her.

The cast are equally unenthusiastic of the play. Little progress is made. 'Jacko', the Stage Director, is at his wits end and threatens to resign, his regular habit when things go wrong. Just as matters seemingly cannot get worse, the author of the play, Catherine Beckwith, appears and insists on 'sitting at the feet' of the Director.

She and Harry are quickly at each other throats. Harry tears up most of Act 1, and storms angrily off stage, falling into the pit and injuring himself. Despite the forebodings of the cast, Miss Beckwith insists on taking over the rehearsal according to her own ideas. She recasts the play as a period piece and introduces new stage techniques.

A week later, to everyone's surprise, the curtain comes down on a triumphant first night.


Critical reception[edit]

  • The New York Times wrote, "the provincial repertory company gets a gentle and mildly whacky going-over in "Curtain Up," the British import that began a stand at the Sixtieth Street Trans-Lux on Saturday. It has such assets as Robert Morley and Margaret Rutherford, who easily manage to be quite superior to the threadbare situations in which they are involved, and it has the glaring deficit of being static for lengthy periods. With "Curtain Up," the actors have the opportunity of delivering some humorous lines here and there, but not too much else." [3]
  • Allmovie noted "the delectable Kay Kendall provides a few sublime moments as the velvet-voiced leading lady." [4]


External links[edit]