This wonderfully witty comedy features Howard as the headwaiter in a posh London hotel restaurant. One fine day Allan and her father, Selten, in from South Africa, come to dine and, of course, it's love at first sight for Howard. Realizing that his social standing is well below Allan's,
the clever man concocts a scheme to fool his would-be love. Howard follows Allan when she goes off on a trip to the Austrian Tyrol, but his plans are nearly foiled when he is recognized as a favorite waiter of king Grossmith. The quick-thinking servitor explains his dilemma to the monarch, who
promises to keep Howard's true identity secret. He invites Howard to take a seat at the royal table during a dinner, which leads Allan to believe the charming and handsome gentleman is actually a prince. Eventually the two must return to the hotel, where Howard's identity is revealed to Allan. She
is angered by this revelation and vows to humiliate the spurious prince. Try though she may, Howard is able to overcome her attempts, and he finally wins her favors when Selten tells his daughter that his own rise to power began with the simple position of dishwasher. There is no disgrace in
loving someone of another social class, he tells her, particularly someone as charming and ambitious as Howard.
Originally filmed in 1927 as SERVICE FOR LADIES with Adolphe Menjou, this version holds up nicely, though dated by technique. The lighter-than-air story is well told, keeping things moving at a fine clip. Though the dialog is a touch overwritten, the ensemble is a tight one, all delivering their
lines with smart comic timing. Howard was already a success in Hollywood at this point in his career but he came back to his native England for this picture. This marked the first British directorial effort for Korda and, despite the programmer status of the production, he did a fine job. Howard,
a product of Hungarian parents, upon being told his director was the Hungarian Korda, responded, "I have heard of Maria Corda, the actress. Any relation?" Paramount's British studios usually pumped more money into their quota productions than other British film companies, and executives were
highly impressed by what Korda had turned out. Though budgets were small by comparison with Hollywood productions, Korda was given enough money to come up with a fine example of light comedy at its best. In her book Alexander Korda: The Man Who Could Work Miracles, author Karol Kulik recounted a
story where the talented director was confronted by a studio executive visiting from California. Surprised by what he saw from a modest production cost, the executive exclaimed to an undoubtedly surprised Korda "...it isn't your job over here to compete with us in Hollywood!" Seen as an extra is
Merle Oberon, who would become Korda's second wife and have her own career guided by him in the early 1930s.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: This wonderfully witty comedy features Howard as the headwaiter in a posh London hotel restaurant. One fine day Allan and her father, Selten, in from South Africa, come to dine and, of course, it's love at first sight for Howard. Realizing that his social… (more)