A French Mistress

A French Mistress

Original British quad poster
Directed by Roy Boulting
Produced by John Boulting
Screenplay by Roy Boulting
Jeffrey Dell
Based on play "The French Mistress" by Robert Monro
Starring Cecil Parker
James Robertson Justice
Ian Bannen
Music by John Addison
Cinematography Mutz Greenbaum
Edited by John Jympson
Charter Film Productions
Distributed by British Lion (U.K.)
Films Around the World (U.S.)
Warner Home Video
Release dates
  • 10 November 1961 (1961-11-10)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

A French Mistress is a 1960 British comedy film directed by Roy Boulting and starring Cecil Parker, James Robertson Justice, Agnès Laurent, Ian Bannen, Raymond Huntley, Irene Handl and Thorley Walters.[1]

It is based on a stage play, "The French Mistress" by Robert Monro (AKA Sonnie Hale), first produced in 1959 at the Theatre Royal Windsor, starring Sonnie Hale.[2][3][4]

Plot summary

A young French woman, Madaleine Lafarge (Laurent), is appointed as a French teacher at a rather old-fashioned English public school which is not used to women teachers. She causes a stir and complications ensue.

A romance develops between her and the headmaster's son (Bannen) who is also a teacher at the school. The headmaster (Parker) is concerned as he comes to believe that she is really his daughter, from an affair he had during a holiday in France in his youth. He attempts to stop the romance by sacking her so that she will go back to France, but the boys go on strike and nearly riot. It transpires at the end that there has been a misunderstanding, which means that she cannot be his daughter.

This is basically a rather lightweight British comedy film typical of its time, with a cast of veteran British character actors, although with a slightly prurient touch.


Critical reception

Bosley Crowther in The New York Times wrote, "We would have expected something better from the Boultings and Mr. Dell. A good cast of old familiars—excepting Agnes Laurent, a newcomer who plays the mademoiselle — try to do something with it and occasionally do all right with a line here, a facial expression or a situation there. Cecil Parker puffs and pouts as the headmaster, and Ian Bannen stands up stoutly as his son. Raymond Huntley and James Robertson Justice do their acts as other masters in the school. Irene Handl also draws a few fast laughs as the compulsively pugnacious cook, and Edith Sharpe and Athene Seyler cluck politely as the only other females around the place. But the ministrations of the stalwarts do not quite save the day. The Boultings are onto a sticky wicket with that silly sex-scandal stuff." [5]


External links

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