12 February 2012

Mrs 'Arris goes to Paris (starring Angela Lansbury)

I'm not entirely sure how this particular DVD ended up on my wishlist; possibly it was recommended to me by Amazon because I so much enjoyed the TV adaptation of 'The Shell Seekers' which starred Angela Lansbury. Lansbury stars as a very different elderly woman in 'Mrs 'Arris goes to Paris', and does so with equal aplomb.

Mrs Ada Harris is a London charlady, and one of her clients is a wealthy duchess. Ada's aesthetic longings are triggered by seeing a couple of Dior dresses. Shocked to hear their approximate cost, she nonetheless is determined to have one for herself, despite her friends telling her to stop being silly. She saves every penny she can for three years, cutting back on all non-essentials, and then takes off for Paris with her hard-earned cash in a bag.

Unprepared for the world of fashion, Mrs Harris discovers that she can't just choose a dress and buy it off the shelf. Angela Lansbury shows her confusion, her hurt as she is almost turned away, and also her indomitable spirit. Ada is a likeable, friendly woman who endears herself to almost everyone around her, including catching the fancy of a lonely Marquis, played charmingly by Omar Sharif. There are those who don't like her, who are shown as caricatured snobs... but with those she cares for, Mrs Harris spreads an almost magical sparkle, bringing people together and encouraging them to see beyond their problems.

In one sense it's a silly and materialistic plot, but the film is delightful; beautifully done, showing the importance of holding onto one's dreams. Originally made for TV in 1992, it's set in the 1950s and feels more that era. Poignant in places, there are a few very funny moments too.

Rated PG in the UK, I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't have a U rating (in the US it does have a G rating). Definitely recommended.

(Note that the link to Amazon US is for the VHS version of this, as it does not seem to be available there on DVD).

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

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