First a Girl
+ intro by film historian John Oliver
Jessie Matthews shines in this comic delight, which features an early example of cross-dressing on screen.
Dir Victor Saville
With Jessie Matthews, Sonnie Hale, Anna Lee
Based on the German film Viktor und Viktoria (remade with Julie Andrews in 1982), this Jessie Matthews vehicle sees her as a performer who builds a career by posing as a female impersonator. Matthews was as big a musical star as Gracie Fields, but, although both were working class, Matthews developed a very different screen persona based on glamour and sophistication. Here, the theme of cross-dressing (rather risqué for 1930s Britain) leads to some exquisite comic situations in which Matthews proves her talent for comedy and manages to be convincing in the gender swap scenes, despite her petite frame and feminine features.
Also available on BFI Player.
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