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Projecting the Archive

Service for Ladies (aka Reserved for Ladies)

+ intro by BFI Curator Josephine Botting

When a suave social guru falls in love it’s he who needs guidance.

Image from Service for Ladies (aka Reserved for Ladies) + intro

UK 1932
Dir Alexander Korda
With Leslie Howard, Benita Hume, Elizabeth Allan, George Grossmith
Certificate PG

Alexander Korda’s directorial debut in the UK is head and shoulders above the output of the rest of the British industry in the early sound years, both technically and creatively. Howard is effortlessly suave as a head waiter-cum-social guru who acts as adviser to his wealthy clientele. But when he falls in love, he finds himself in need of guidance. In the second adaptation of Hungarian writer Ernest Vajda’s novel (the American silent version with Adolphe Menjou is sadly lost), the story’s comic potential revolving around mistaken identity is brilliantly exploited by Korda, while the romantic moments are sensitively directed. Readers of fan magazine Film Weekly voted it their second favourite British film of 1932.


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