On Approval NR

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(20) IMDb 7.4/10

A delightful British comedy of manners based on Frederick Lonsdale's popular play. Adapted, produced, directed and starring Clive Brook, "On Approval" is the story of a trial marriage on a remote island, a tame idea by today's standards, but shocking set in 1890! Much admired for its cinematic cleverness and sparkling quips, today's connoisseurs will also enjoy the tour-de-force ensemble acting. Named one of the ten best pictures of the year by Time Magazine.

Starring:
Elliott Mason, Clive Brook
Runtime:
1 hour 17 minutes

On Approval

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Product Details

Genres Comedy
Director Clive Brook
Starring Elliott Mason, Clive Brook
Supporting actors Googie Withers, Roland Culver, O.B. Clarence, Laurence Hanray, Elliott Mason, Hay Petrie, Marjorie Rhodes, Mollie Munks, E.V.H. Emmett
Studio Egami Media
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Great comedy; good print.
S. Gruen
It stars Brook, as well as Beatrice Lillie (in one of her few film roles), Googie Withers and Roland Culver.
B. Margolis
The DVD's look and sound is very good.
C. O. DeRiemer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 13, 2001
Format: DVD
With a friend in the movie business - that's how. This is one of the funniest films if you have anything which can be described as an education. It's unlikely to appeal to anyone whose idea of humour is visual and as subtle as a train wreck.
If you like sharp quick humour - the lines are superb, the wit is on full automatic and much of the script has given future writers something to chew on and regurgitate. Clive Brook has the viperous tongue that made the likes of WC Fields, Noel Coward, etc. His rapier-like wit is balanced by the caustic Beatrice Lille who makes a perfect foil to Brook's latent chauvinism and Googie Withers who plays the softly-spoken American heiress who is impervious to his egocentricity.
Only one comment to any PC types - don't take the comments at the beginning too seriously - remember its 1939 and a woman's place is not yet on the boardroom table.
Whilst among most moviegoers today, it is obviously anachronistic in that people actually dressed in more than a reversed baseball cap and baggy shorts, the putdowns would serve any budding stand-up today. This is comedy which is fifty years ahead of it's time - and in some places quite risque. It's time that this play made it back to the stage again as it is perfect for theatre with only four main characters and 90% filmed indoors.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By George Grellas on January 22, 2001
Format: DVD
This is a sophisticated, light comedy of the highest order. It works at every level: acting, directing, pacing, production. Especially for those who tend to appreciate the often higher caliber expertise of movie-making out of the 1940s, this movie will be bright and fresh. It holds its own with the best of that era, yet is so rarely seen today that even connoisseurs of sophisticated satire and gentle wit scarcely know of its existence. For anyone who enjoys ironic word plays, playfully disparaging witticisms, and occasionally biting satire upon upper-class manners -- all done in grand style -- this movie is a joy to experience. The DVD release corrects the sound and other technical problems of the VHS version, allowing the movie to be recommended without reservation for those who appreciate this style of comedy. Don't miss this one!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer on March 17, 2004
Format: DVD
I won't recap the storyline, but will only add to what others have said. On Approval is an extremely amusing comedy of upper class British manners. It is wickedly malicious without being mean-spirited. The four leads play off each other flawlessly. Clive Brook, who also wrote and directed the film, is priceless as an aristocrat who finds it entirely reasonable to take his pleasures at the expense of others.
Brook is largely forgotten now, but he was a major British actor in his time. He made only one movie after this, 1963's List of Adrian Messenger. At 76 he could still command the screen, even when sharing scenes with George C. Scott.
The DVD's look and sound is very good.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John Farr on September 6, 2005
Format: DVD
A subtle, overlooked English treat, "On Approval" is top high-brow English comedy in the vein of Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward. Though the British upper-class reserve is ever-present, it's integral to the comedy, with the proper English language employed like a rapier. It's also a rare cinematic opportunity to see Clive Brook and stage comedienne Beatrice Lillie in action. Sophisticated, irresistible fun.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Alan Dale Daniel VINE VOICE on March 11, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is one of the best comedies ever made. An absolute romp through the 19th century outlooks and the problems encountered by four improbable companions two of whom are looking one another over with the prospect of marriage. The witch, so to speak, of the four makes the movie. Her performance as the hard to get along with rich widow is magnificent. The rest of the crew do a great job as well. The ending is not what is expected but it is a happy ending which makes the movie even more fun.
A must see movie for all comedy fans, especially romantic comedy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By B. Margolis on April 28, 2010
Format: DVD
In 1943, Clive Brook, a good British actor, produced, adapted and directed this early 1920's comedy of manners by Frederick Lonsdale. It stars Brook, as well as Beatrice Lillie (in one of her few film roles), Googie Withers and Roland Culver. Brook changed the setting to late Victorian England, which serves the material even better than it did in the early 1920's, when the original play was to have taken place.

The basic premise: Maria Wislack (Lillie) is a widowed woman of 41 who's very exacting. George, the 10th Duke of Bristol (Brook) is poor and down on his luck, despite his title and his very dry, exacting nature. Richard (Culver) is in love with Maria, but hasn't the funds or the courage to propose marriage. Helen (Withers) is in love with George, but she cannot get George to think of her as a possible bride.

Maria gets Richard to propose with the understanding that they go off to her house in Scotland for one month's trial "marriage", on approval. What transpires is each finding out much more about each other.

The dialogue is bright, dry and wicked, at times. Brook did a wonderful job adapting the play, directing the film and working with the designers to produce wonderful sets and costumes. Everything's absolutely perfect about the production....except for one small complaint. Googie Withers is a terrific actress, but she's playing an American in London and Wither's British accent is all wrong for the part.

This film has become one of my favorite films...good for repeated viewings. This Image transfer is perfectly acceptable, without it being a proper restoration.

Highly recommended....if for no other reason, for you to see the legendary Beatrice Lillie in one of her very few film roles.
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