The Law and the Lady (1951)

104 mins | Comedy | 20 July 1951

Director:

Edwin H. Knopf

Producer:

Edwin H. Knopf

Cinematographer:

George Folsey

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Daniel B. Cathcart

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The film's working titles were The Law and Lady Loverly and The Law and the Lovely Lady . The following written prologue appears at the end of the opening credits: "This story begins in London at the turn of the century. If they had known what was ahead, they never would have turned it." Michael Wilding is credited twice in the end credits, first as "Nigel Duxbury" and then as "Lord Minden." The Law and the Lady marked the first time English actor Wilding (1912--1979) made a motion picture in the United States, although he had made several British-American co-productions in England in the 1940s. Wilding was borrowed from Allied Artists for this film. A HR news item includes Joan Cavendish in the cast, but her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
       Frederick Lonsdale's play was previously filmed by M-G-M in 1929 under the title The Last of Mrs. Cheyney , directed by Sidney Franklin and starring Norma Shearer and Basil Rathbone (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ) and in 1937 under the same title, directed by Richard Boleslawski and starring Joan Crawford, William Powell and Robert Montgomery (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ). In both of the earlier versions, the principal action took place in England and the female protagonist worked alone. According to a 12 Nov 1952 DV news item, M-G-M's rights to the Lonsdale play were due to expire in Oct 1953, and the studio was about to alert exhibitors that they had to end all bookings of The Law ... More Less

The film's working titles were The Law and Lady Loverly and The Law and the Lovely Lady . The following written prologue appears at the end of the opening credits: "This story begins in London at the turn of the century. If they had known what was ahead, they never would have turned it." Michael Wilding is credited twice in the end credits, first as "Nigel Duxbury" and then as "Lord Minden." The Law and the Lady marked the first time English actor Wilding (1912--1979) made a motion picture in the United States, although he had made several British-American co-productions in England in the 1940s. Wilding was borrowed from Allied Artists for this film. A HR news item includes Joan Cavendish in the cast, but her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
       Frederick Lonsdale's play was previously filmed by M-G-M in 1929 under the title The Last of Mrs. Cheyney , directed by Sidney Franklin and starring Norma Shearer and Basil Rathbone (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ) and in 1937 under the same title, directed by Richard Boleslawski and starring Joan Crawford, William Powell and Robert Montgomery (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ). In both of the earlier versions, the principal action took place in England and the female protagonist worked alone. According to a 12 Nov 1952 DV news item, M-G-M's rights to the Lonsdale play were due to expire in Oct 1953, and the studio was about to alert exhibitors that they had to end all bookings of The Law and the Lady by that time. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
14 Jul 1951.
---
Daily Variety
13 Jul 51
p. 3.
Daily Variety
12 Nov 1952.
---
Film Daily
16 Jul 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Dec 1950
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Dec 50
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Dec 50
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Dec 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jan 51
pp. 6-7, 11.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Feb 51
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jul 51
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
20 Sep 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
21 Jul 51
p. 938.
New York Times
16 Aug 51
p. 23.
Newsweek
30 Jul 1951.
---
Time
30 Jul 1951.
---
Variety
18 Jul 51
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
James Aubrey
Olga Borget
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Women's cost des
Men's cost des
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hair styles des
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Last of Mrs. Cheyney by Frederick Lonsdale (London, 22 Sep 1925).
MUSIC
"Sari Waltz" by Emmerich Kalman.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Law and Lady Loverly
The Law and the Lovely Lady
Release Date:
20 July 1951
Production Date:
29 January--early March 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
10 July 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1067
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
104
Length(in feet):
9,367
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15228
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In turn of the century London, ladies maid Jane Hoskins is wrongly accused of stealing diamond earrings from her shrewish employer, Lady Sybil Minden. As Inspector McGraw questions Jane, Nigel Duxbury reveals that he stole his sister-in-law's earrings as partial payment for the loss of his inheritance to his five-minute older twin brother, Lord Minden. Nigel negotiates a £200 severence for Jane, then invites her to an elegant restaurant. Jane reveals that she wants to use the money to live like a lady and marry well, and he lets her wear the earrings, which Minden gave to him. At dinner, Nigel is impressed by Jane's polished manners and ability to fleece fellow diner Sir Roland Epping out of one hundred pounds for a phony charity. Although Jane initially feels guilty, when Nigel proposes that they become partners, she agrees. In Monte Carlo, Jane, now calling herself Lady Loverly, easily tricks an elderly English colonel into losing money to Nigel at Chemin de fer . When the police later ask the pair to leave the country, Nigel offers to let Jane out of their agreement, but she stays with him. They eventually get to Shanghai, where the Chinese police become the latest to ask them to leave. Nigel proposes that they sail to San Francisco, where he plants stories about "Lady Loverly." Jane is flooded with invitations from social-climbing San Franciscans, but asks Mrs. Julia Wortin, a rough-hewn, but extremely wealthy widow, to tea. Julia, who is known for her generosity, gladly offers money to Jane's charity, then invites her for the weekend. Nigel, posing as "Hoskins," an ... +


In turn of the century London, ladies maid Jane Hoskins is wrongly accused of stealing diamond earrings from her shrewish employer, Lady Sybil Minden. As Inspector McGraw questions Jane, Nigel Duxbury reveals that he stole his sister-in-law's earrings as partial payment for the loss of his inheritance to his five-minute older twin brother, Lord Minden. Nigel negotiates a £200 severence for Jane, then invites her to an elegant restaurant. Jane reveals that she wants to use the money to live like a lady and marry well, and he lets her wear the earrings, which Minden gave to him. At dinner, Nigel is impressed by Jane's polished manners and ability to fleece fellow diner Sir Roland Epping out of one hundred pounds for a phony charity. Although Jane initially feels guilty, when Nigel proposes that they become partners, she agrees. In Monte Carlo, Jane, now calling herself Lady Loverly, easily tricks an elderly English colonel into losing money to Nigel at Chemin de fer . When the police later ask the pair to leave the country, Nigel offers to let Jane out of their agreement, but she stays with him. They eventually get to Shanghai, where the Chinese police become the latest to ask them to leave. Nigel proposes that they sail to San Francisco, where he plants stories about "Lady Loverly." Jane is flooded with invitations from social-climbing San Franciscans, but asks Mrs. Julia Wortin, a rough-hewn, but extremely wealthy widow, to tea. Julia, who is known for her generosity, gladly offers money to Jane's charity, then invites her for the weekend. Nigel, posing as "Hoskins," an unemployed butler, is hired by Julia on Jane's suggestion. A few days later, when Jane arrives at Julia's estate, Nigel tells her about Julia's necklace, which is kept under lock and key in the newly burglar-alarmed house. That night, Jane is attracted to Julia's neighbor, Juan Dinas. Julia thinks the flirtation is romantic, but Nigel is jealous and banker Tracy Collins, another houseguest, wants Jane for himself. Just before she goes to bed, Jane asks Julia for the key to her safe, for her diamond earrings, but does not steal the necklace. Next day, Juan takes Jane to his hacienda and proposes. Juan's grandmother, Princess Margarita, a niece of the King of Spain, is cordial, then secretly looks at a book on English nobility and finds that Jane is not who she seems. After she angrily tells Juan, Juan takes Jane home, but does not withdraw his proposal. Later, Jane tells Nigel that she is probably in love with Juan and wants to marry him. Nigel wishes her well, and agrees that they have grown too fond of Julia to steal her necklace, then passionately kisses Jane, prompting her to give him the earrings so he will have some money. When Nigel tells her that he pawned the real earrings a long time ago, Jane feels responsible for his situation and says she will leave with him in the morning. That night, Jane reconsiders and steals the necklace from Julia's bedroom safe. When Jane goes to the balcony, she sees Nigel and throws the necklace to him, but is observed by Juan and the groomsman Panchito, who detains Nigel while Juan climbs up to Jane's room. Juan confronts Jane about her deception and theft, which she freely admits. He tries to kiss her, but accidentally sets off the burglar alarm, which immediately summons Julia and her guests. Juan keeps quiet about the necklace and says that he entered Julia's room uninvited. Jane then tells Julia about stealing her necklace and apologizes, after which Nigel arrives, saying that he is the mastermind. He and Jane offer to leave immediately, but Collins wants to have them arrested until Nigel reveals that he has a proposal letter that Collins foolishly wrote to Jane naming Juan, Julia and the other houseguests as scoundrels. Not wanting to be made a public fool, Collins offers $15,000 for the letter, but Jane refuses and asks everyone to leave. A few moments later, Nigel and Juan both overhear Jane crying. The next morning, Jane is packed to leave, alone, but on Julia's insistence stays for breakfast. Nigel and Juan then arrive, saying that they have decided Jane should stay and marry Juan. She is irritated that they have not consulted her, and when Nigel gives her the earrings, saying that they are real, she angrily denounces him. As they argue, Juan leaves, knowing Jane and Nigel are in love. Nigel then promises to pay back all of their victims, even if he has to go to work. Just then, the sheriff arrives, accompanied by McGraw, who reveals that Epping is pressing charges against them, but Lord Minden has died, thus making Nigel the new lord. Jane gives Julia the earrings as a gift and she and Nigel leave with McGraw, who says that they won't need to be "away" for very long. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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