Friday, 14 August 2009


1953 - Dir.: Henry Cornelius
Shown at The FeckenOdeon on 29th January, 2005

Many remember "Genevieve" as the best Ealing comedy that never was. Given its storyline and pedigree it is very easy to understand why. Its director Henry Cornelius had in fact joined the studio in 1944 as a producer and in 1949 directed their classic comedy "Passport to Pimlico" before leaving to become an independent. In addition the screenplay is by William Rose, who would later pen such classic Ealing comedies as "The Ladykillers". Cornelius even offered the project to Ealing Studios, but Michael Balcon turned it down. The film was eventually produced by Rank, but with a budget so meagre that most of the shooting was accomplished in and around their Pinewood studios in Buckinghamshire, with just a few days of location filming.
Larry Adler's score for harmonica and small orchestra also contributed to the film's distinctive quality, although his name was removed from American prints of the film as at that time he was a victim of the McCarthy blacklist; the credit went instead to Muir Mathieson.
• Genevieve is a twin-cylinder 10/12 hp Darracq built in Paris in 1904. After the film she was sold and shipped to New Zealand and later to Australia. In 1993 she was acquired by the Louwman National Motor Museum at Ramsdonkyveer, Holland - where she still resides.
• Alexander Darracq was a man who didn't like driving cars or being driven in them. Darracq preferred making bicycles. But in 1896, he felt compelled to develop an electric car, which he later dismissed as being "worthless." After running into financial problems, his company was reformed with British capital, ultimately merging with Talbot and then Sunbeam before expiring in 1939.

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