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Post Ivor Novello, "Perchance to Dream," and "Berkeley Square"
Created by John Eipper on 08/07/19 8:19 AM

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Ivor Novello, "Perchance to Dream," and "Berkeley Square" (Patrick Mears, Germany, 08/07/19 8:19 am)

Ed Jajko's earlier post on Ivor Novello stimulated me to do some research on him and his impressive oeuvre. I thank Ed for opening up another view of the past to me. Just a few minutes ago while reviewing my email here in The White Swan Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon waiting for tonight's performance of Measure for Measure, I read Ed's new and informative post on Novello's 1945 musical, Perchance to Dream. That caused me to glance over at my room's "Do Not Disturb" sign which instead reads: "To sleep, perchance to dream," and smile at the coincidence.

Ed's post also reminded me of a 1933 American film titled Berkeley Square, starring Leslie Howard, that was based on an earlier Broadway play written by an American, John L. Balderston, and which was inspired in turn by Henry James' posthumously published novel, The Sense of the Past. Balderston's play opened on Broadway in 1929 and also starred Howard as an American who travels back in time to 1784 and the London home of his English ancestors. While there Howard's character, Peter Standish, falls in love with one of his ancestors, Helen Pettigrew, but he never quite meshes with 18th-Century English society and eventually is transported back to his own time and place. Upon returning, Peter discovers that Helen died only a few years after their meeting, but he is consoled by her epitaph, which reflects Helen's conviction that they will be together later in heaven.

Although the film was not a box-office success in the United States, it garnered favorable reviews from The New York Times, Variety and The New Yorker. Variety commented in its review that American audiences would likely not enjoy the work due to its "Britishness." I viewed the film a few years ago and was struck by its clever and imaginative script, as well as by Leslie Howard's stellar performance, which rates just below his depiction of Sir Percy Blakeney in the classic 1934 film production of The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Thank you again, Ed, for sharing your vast knowledge on WAIS. It always makes my life richer.

JE comments:  Perchance to dream--the WAIS Effect again!  Enjoy tonight's Shakespeare, Pat!  Is a festival going on?  Are you staying for several shows?


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