What we're about
Upcoming events (1)
Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County
"The Kingfisher" (1985) starring Wendy Hiller, Rex Harrison and Cyril Cusack We close our mini-festival of Wendy Hiller films with "The Kingfisher". The Kingfisher is not a great movie but it is a perfect one. Starring three of the most delightful actors ever to grace the silver screen and with a script that quietly sparkles with humor and charm, this is a film that is sure to delight anyone who has more than a passing interest in life and love, both requited and not, in one's "golden years". "The Kingfisher" was made almost 50 years after last month's film, Pygmalion, when Wendy Hiller was 73 years old (and Rex Harrison was 80 and Cyril Cusack -- no relation to John or Joan -- was 75). If you were able to attend Pygmalion or I Know Where I'm Going you will surely remember Wendy Hiller's vivacious smile, magnificent cheeks and how she could catch your eye with the flick of an eyebrow. All are on full display in The Kingfisher. Based on a play by William Douglas Home, the film opens as famous writer Sir Cecil Warburton (Rex Harrison), a rakish, lifelong bachelor, learns of the death of an old rival, indeed, the very man who married an old flame, Lady Evelyn (Wendy Hiller) with whom he had shared an afternoon’s fling some 50 years ago. Who should stop by on the way from the funeral but Lady Evelyn herself!!! Such are the odd coincidences of which movies are made. It turns out that Lady Evelyn didn’t much love her husband after all and still retains some affection for Sir Cecil. Complicating this is the presence of Sir Cecil’s butler, charmingly played by Cyril Cusack who, it gives nothing away to say, has always been secretly in love with Sir Cecil. These three make up the entire cast except for Lady Evelyn’s butler who is shown but does not utter a word. Rex Harrison sparkles as the louche Sir Cecil, a man clearly set in his ways and and beyond his prime but not without attractiveness. Wendy Hiller radiates appeal even in the face of her age and her somewhat unhappy life with her late husband. Cyril Cusack, who is not well known to Americans but appeared in over 100 films, is a delight as the affected but sincere manservant whose life it has been to serve Sir Cecil. This film is sure to charm. The critics were not impressed with this movie, saying basically that the film did not deliver a slice of real life. They are correct. It delivers a slice a cake. With ice cream on top. I hope you will join me for it.