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Anna Neagle est une Actrice et Producteur Britannique née le 19 octobre 1904

Anna Neagle

Anna Neagle
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Nom de naissance Florence Marjorie Robertson
Nationalité Royaume-uni
Naissance 19 octobre 1904
Mort 3 juin 1986 (à 81 ans)

Dame Florence Marjorie Wilcox, DBE (née Robertson) est une actrice britannique, née à Forest Gate (en ce temps dans l'Essex et aujourd'hui dans Newham, Londres, Angleterre) le 20 octobre 1904, et morte à West Byfleet (Surrey, Angleterre), le 3 juin 1986. Elle est la grand-tante de l'acteur Nicholas Hoult.


Early life
Neagle was born in Forest Gate, then in Essex, now part of the London Borough of Newham, daughter to Herbert Robertson, a Merchant Navy captain, and his wife, the former Florence Neagle. Her older brother was the bass-baritone and actor Stuart Robertson (1901-1958). Robertson attended primary school in Glasgow and then St Albans High School for Girls. She made her stage debut as a dancer in 1917, and later appeared in the chorus of C.B. Cochran's revues and also André Charlot's revue Bubbly. While with Cochran she understudied Jessie Matthews.

In 1931 she starred in the West End musical Stand Up and Sing (1931), with actor Jack Buchanan, who encouraged her to take a featured role. For this play she began using the professional name of Anna Neagle (the surname being her mother's maiden name). The play was a success with a total run of 604 performances. Stand Up and Sing provided her big break when film producer and director Herbert Wilcox, who had caught the show purposely to consider Buchanan for an upcoming film, but also took note of her cinematic potential.

Cinematic beginnings

"Naturally enough when I was a young dancer, I was terribly anxious to get ahead, and to get ahead quickly. I was impatient with all those older people who talked of the long grind to the top, who turned me down for jobs I knew I could do."

Anna Neagle

Forming a professional alliance with Wilcox, Neagle played her first starring film role in the musical Goodnight, Vienna (1932), again with Jack Buchanan. With this film Neagle became an overnight favourite. Although the film cost a mere £23,000 to a produce, it was a hit at the box office, profits from its Australian release alone being £150,000.

After her starring role in The Flag Lieutenant (also 1932), directed by and co-starring Henry Edwards, she worked exclusively under Wilcox's direction for all but one of her subsequent films, becoming one of Britain's biggest stars.

She continued in the musical genre, co-starring with Fernand Graavey (later known as Fernand Gravet) in Bitter Sweet (1933). This first version of Noël Coward's tale of ill-fated lovers was later obscured by the better known Jeanette MacDonald–Nelson Eddy remake in 1940.

Neagle had her first major success with Nell Gwynn (1934), which Wilcox had previously shot as a silent starring Dorothy Gish in 1926. Neagle's performance as the woman who became the mistress of Charles II (Sir Cedric Hardwicke) prompted some censorship in the United States. The Hays Office had Wilcox add a (historically false) scene featuring the two leads getting married and also a "framing" story resulting in an entirely different ending. Graham Greene, then a film critic, said of Nell Gwynn: "I have seen few things more attractive than Miss Neagle in breeches".

Two years after Nell Gwynn, she followed up with another real-life figure, portraying Irish actress Peg Woffington in Peg of Old Drury (1936). That same year she appeared in Limelight, a backstage film musical in which she played a chorus girl. Her co-star was Arthur Tracy, who had gained fame in the United States as a radio performer known as 'The Street Singer'. The film also featured Jack Buchanan in an uncredited cameo. performing "Goodnight Vienna".

Neagle and Wilcox followed with a circus trapeze fable Three Maxims (1937), which was released in the United States as The Show Goes On. The film, with a script featuring a contribution from Herman J. Mankiewicz (later to co-write Citizen Kane with Orson Welles), had Neagle performing her own high-wire acrobatics. Although now highly successful in films, Neagle continued acting on stage. In 1934, while working under director Robert Atkins, she performed as Rosalind in As You Like It and Olivia in Twelfth Night. Both productions earned her critical accolades, despite the fact that she had never performed Shakespearean roles before.

In 1937 Neagle gave her most prestigious performance so far – as Queen Victoria in the historical drama Victoria the Great (1937), co-starring Anton Walbrook as Prince Albert. The script by Robert Vansittart and Miles Malleson (from Laurence Housman's play Victoria Regina) alternated between the political and the personal lives of the royal couple. The Diamond Jubilee sequence that climaxed the film was shot in Technicolor. Victoria the Great was such an international success that it resulted in Neagle and Walbrook playing their roles again in an all-Technicolor sequel entitled Sixty Glorious Years (1938), co-starring C. Aubrey Smith as the Duke of Wellington. While the first of these films was in release, Neagle returned to the London stage and entertained audiences with her portrayal of the title role in Peter Pan.

An American excursion
The success of Victoria the Great and Sixty Glorious Years caused Hollywood studios to take notice. Neagle and Wilcox began an association with RKO Radio Pictures. Their first American film was Nurse Edith Cavell (1939), a remake of Dawn, a Wilcox silent that starred Sybil Thorndike. In this, another Neagle role based on an actual British heroine, she played the role of the nurse who was shot by the Germans in World War I for alleged spying. The resulting effort had a significant impact for audiences on the eve of war.

In a turnabout from this serious drama, the couple followed with three musical comedies, all based on once-popular stage plays. The first of these was Irene (1940), co-starring Ray Milland. It included a Technicolor sequence, which featured Neagle singing the play's most famous song, "Alice Blue Gown". She followed this film with No, No, Nanette (1940) with Victor Mature, in which she sang "Tea For Two", and Sunny (1941), with Ray Bolger.

Neagle and Wilcox's final American film was Forever and a Day (1943), a tale of a London family house from 1804 to the 1940 blitz. This film boasts 80 performers (mostly expatriate British), including Ray Milland, C. Aubrey Smith, Claude Rains, Charles Laughton and – among the few North Americans – Buster Keaton. Wilcox directed the sequence featuring Neagle, Milland, Smith and Rains, while other directors who worked on the film included René Clair, Edmund Goulding, Frank Lloyd, Victor Saville and Robert Stevenson. During the war the profits and salaries were given to war relief. After the war, prints were intended to be destroyed, so that no one could profit from them. However, this never occurred.

Back to Britain
Returning to Britain, Neagle and Wilcox commenced with They Flew Alone (1942; shot after but released before Forever and a Day). Neagle this time played aviator Amy Johnson, who had recently died in a flying accident. Robert Newton's co-starred as Johnson's husband, Jim Mollison. The film inter-cut the action with newsreel footage.

Neagle and Wilcox married in August 1943 at the Caxton Hall.

They continued with The Yellow Canary (1943), co-starring Richard Greene and Margaret Rutherford. In this spy story, Neagle plays a German-sympathiser (or at least that is what she seems to be at first) who is forced to go to Canada for her own safety. In reality, of course, she's working as an undercover agent out to expose a plot to blow up Halifax Harbour in Nova Scotia. The Yellow Canary received positive comment for its atmospheric recreation of wartime conditions.

In 1945 Neagle appeared on stage in Emma, a dramatisation of Jane Austen's novel. That same year she was seen in the film I Live in Grosvenor Square, co-starring Rex Harrison. She wanted Harrison for the lead in her next film, Piccadilly Incident (1946). However, he (as well as John Mills) proved to be unavailable at the time, so Wilcox cast Michael Wilding in the lead. Thus was born what film critic Godfrey Winn called "the greatest team in British films". The story – of a wife, presumed dead, returning to her (remarried) husband – bears a resemblance to the Irene Dunne–Cary Grant comedy My Favorite Wife. Piccadilly Incident was chosen as Picturegoer's Best Film of 1947. Despite the fact that Neagle was some 8 years senior to Wilding, they proved to be an extremely bankable romantic pairing at the British box office. By now in her mid forties, Neagle continued to have success in youthful and romantic lead roles.

Neagle and Wilding were reunited in The Courtneys of Curzon Street (1947), a period drama that became the year's top box-office attraction. The film featured Wilding as an upper class dandy and Neagle as the maid he marries, only to have the two of them driven apart by Victorian society.

The third pairing of Neagle and Wilding in the "London Films", as the series of films came to be called, was in Spring in Park Lane (1948). A drama, this depicted the romance between a millionaire's niece and a footman (actually a nobleman who has seen better days). The script was written by Nicholas Phipps, who also played Wilding's brother. Although not a musical, it contains a dream sequence featuring the song "The Moment I Saw You". Spring in Park Lane was the 1949 Picturegoer winner for Best Film, Actor and Actress. Neagle and Wilding were together for a fourth time in the Technicolor romance Maytime in Mayfair (1949). The plot is reminiscent of Roberta, as it had Wilding inheriting a dress shop owned by Neagle.

By now, Neagle was at her peak as Britain's top box-office actress, and she made what reputedly became her own favourite film, Odette (1950), co-starring Trevor Howard, Peter Ustinov and Marius Goring. As Odette Sansom, she was the Anglo-French resistance fighter who was pushed to the edge of betrayal by the Nazis. In 1950, Neagle and Wilcox moved to the top floor flat in Aldford House overlooking Park Lane, which would be their home until 1964. She played Florence Nightingale in The Lady with the Lamp (1951), based on the 1929 play by Reginald Berkeley.

Returning to the stage in 1953, she scored a success with The Glorious Days, which had a run of 476 performances. Neagle and Wilcox brought the play to the screen under the title Lilacs in the Spring (1954), co-starring Errol Flynn. In the film she plays an actress knocked out by a bomb, who dreams she is Queen Victoria and Nell Gwyn – as well as her own mother. As she begins dreaming, the film switches from black-and-white to colour. In Britain, where Neagle had top billing, the film was reasonably successful. In the United States, however, where Flynn had top billing, the title was changed to Let's Make Up, and it flopped, with limited bookings.

On the wane
Neagle and Flynn reteamed for a second flm together, King's Rhapsody (1955), based on an Ivor Novello musical and also starring Patrice Wymore (Flynn's wife at the time). Although Neagle performed several musical numbers for the film, most of them were cut from the final release, leaving her with essentially a supporting role. Shot in Eastmancolor and CinemaScope with location work near Barcelona, Spain, King's Rhapsody was a major flop everywhere. Neagle's (and Flynn's) box-office appeal, it seemed, was fading.

Neagle's last box-office hit was My Teenage Daughter (1956), which featured her as a mother trying to prevent her daughter (Sylvia Syms) from lapsing into juvenile delinquency.

Neagle and Syms worked together again on No Time For Tears (1957), also starring Anthony Quayle and Flora Robson. As directed by Cyril Frankel, this was the first film for over 20 years where Neagle was directed by someone other than Herbert Wilcox. Set in a children's hospital, the film features Neagle as a matron dealing with the problems of the patients and the staff, notably a nurse (Syms) infatuated with one of the doctors (George Baker).

With her husband, Neagle began producing films starring Frankie Vaughan, but these were out of touch with changing tastes, and lost money, resulting in Wilcox going heavily into debt. Neagle herself made her final film appearance in The Lady Is a Square (1957), also Wilcox's last film as director.

Neagle was the subject of This Is Your Life on two occasions, in February 1958 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the BBC Television Theatre, and in March 1983, when Andrews surprised her at London's Royal National Hotel.

Final years
Herbert Wilcox was bankrupt by 1964, but his wife soon revived his fortunes. She returned to the stage the following year and made a comeback in the West End musical Charlie Girl. In it she played the role of a former "Cochran Young Lady" who marries a peer of the realm. Charlie Girl was not a critical success, but it ran for six years and 2,047 performances. It earned Neagle an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for her enduring popularity.

Two years after Charlie Girl – which she also performed in Australia and New Zealand – Neagle was asked to appear in a revival of No, No, Nanette, having appeared in the screen version three decades earlier. Later, in 1975, she replaced Celia Johnson in The Dame of Sark and, in 1978 (the year after her husband's death), she was acting in Most Gracious Lady, which was written for the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

Although affected by Parkinson's disease in her last years, Neagle continued to be active. In 1985 she appeared as the Fairy Godmother in a production of Cinderella at the London Palladium.

Some sources state that Neagle was suffering from cancer at the time of her death. She was interred alongside her husband in the City of London Cemetery. Their grave was recommemorated by Princess Anne, the Princess Royal on 6 March 2014.

A memorial plaque on her former home at Aldford House, Park Lane was unveiled on 30 May 1996, by Princess Anne and Lana Morris.

A street named in her honour, Anna Neagle Close, is situated in Forest Gate, London.

Ses meilleurs films

Odette, agent S 23 (1950)

Le plus souvent avec

Herbert Wilcox
Herbert Wilcox
(36 films)
Mutz Greenbaum
Mutz Greenbaum
(11 films)
Freddie Young
Freddie Young
(10 films)
Anthony Collins
Anthony Collins
(11 films)
Source : Wikidata

Filmographie de Anna Neagle (41 films)

Afficher la filmographie sous forme de liste


The Lady is a Square, 1h40
Réalisé par Herbert Wilcox
Origine Royaume-uni
Genres Comédie, Musical, Romance
Acteurs Anna Neagle, Frankie Vaughan, Janette Scott, Anthony Newley, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Kenneth Cope
Rôle Frances Baring
Note60% 3.010283.010283.010283.010283.01028
Mrs Baring, a businesswoman and patron of classical music, has arranged for a celebrated Eastern Bloc musician, Spolenski, to play in a series of concerts in Britain. However, she is aware that she is on the brink of bankruptcy and the Spolenski tour offers a final chance to save her finances.
The Man Who Wouldn't Talk
Réalisé par Herbert Wilcox
Genres Drame, Policier
Acteurs Anna Neagle, Anthony Quayle, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Katherine Kath, Dora Bryan, Patrick Allen
Rôle Mary Randall, Q.C.
Note63% 3.1857853.1857853.1857853.1857853.185785
A courtroom drama, it sees an American scientist charged for murder by the British police for his supposed role in the death of an Eastern Bloc defector.
Voyage en Birmanie, 1h34
Réalisé par Herbert Wilcox
Origine Royaume-uni
Genres Comédie, Musical, Romance
Thèmes La musique, Musique, Politique, Adaptation d'une pièce de théâtre, Adaptation d'une comédie musicale
Acteurs Errol Flynn, Anna Neagle, David Farrar, Kathleen Harrison, Peter Graves, Helen Haye
Rôle Carole Beaumont / Lillian Grey / Nell Gwynn / la reine Victoria
Note53% 2.6771852.6771852.6771852.6771852.677185
L’actrice Carole Beaumont a été traumatisée par l’explosion d’une bombe durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Les séquelles lui font successivement revêtir la peau d’une vedette des années 1930, de la reine Victoria, de sa propre mère et elle revoit son mariage avec l’acteur « Beau » John Beaumont qui fit d’elle une star du cinéma muet...
Derby Day
Derby Day (1952)
, 1h24
Réalisé par Herbert Wilcox
Origine Royaume-uni
Genres Drame
Thèmes Mise en scène d'un animal, Sport, Les chevaux, Equitation
Acteurs Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Googie Withers, Toni Edgar-Bruce, Samuel John Kydd, John McCallum
Rôle Lady Helen Forbes
Note63% 3.191013.191013.191013.191013.19101
On the morning of the Epsom Derby, a disparate group of people prepare to go to the races. Lady Helen Forbes, a recently widowed aristocrat is planning to make the journey in spite of the disapproval of her social set who consider it unseemly to go while still in mourning. David Scott, a newspaper cartoonist is ordered to go by his editor against his wishes. Meanwhile, as part of a charity raffle, a dissolute film star, Gerald Berkeley, is to escort a wealthy grand dame to Epsom for the day something he is equally reluctant about. Happily she falls and injures her leg, and her crafty housekeeper arranges for one of the young maids to go in her place. Meanwhile, in Battersea, a lodger kills a man whose wife he is having an affair with. They plan to flee the country, and also head to Epsom where he knows a tipster who can smuggle them out.
The Lady with a Lamp, 1h50
Réalisé par Herbert Wilcox
Origine Royaume-uni
Genres Drame
Thèmes Politique
Acteurs Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Felix Aylmer, Arthur Young, Edwin Styles, Rosalie Crutchley
Rôle Florence Nightingale
Note65% 3.284173.284173.284173.284173.28417
Illustrating the political complexities the hard-headed nurse had to battle in order to achieve sanitary medical conditions during the Crimean War. Opposed in the uppermost circles of British government because she is "merely" a woman, Florence Nightingale is championed by the Hon. Sidney Herbert (Michael Wilding), minister of war. Herbert pulls strings to allow Nightingale and her nursing staff access to battlefield hospitals, and in so doing changes the course of medical history.
Odette, agent S 23, 2h4
Réalisé par Herbert Wilcox
Origine Royaume-uni
Genres Drame, Guerre, Espionnage, Historique
Thèmes Espionnage, Politique
Acteurs Anna Neagle, Trevor Howard, Marius Goring, Bernard Lee, Peter Ustinov, Gilles Quéant
Rôle Odette Sansom, alias Marie et Lise
Note69% 3.4919253.4919253.4919253.4919253.491925
Le film relate l'activité d'Odette Sansom, héroïne française du Special Operations Executive, qui fut courrier (agent de liaison) dans le réseau SPINDLE de Peter Churchill actif dans le sud-est de la France, et qui fut arrêtée en avril 1943 avant d'être déportée à Ravensbrück.
Maytime in Mayfair, 1h34
Réalisé par Herbert Wilcox
Origine Royaume-uni
Genres Musical
Thèmes Musique
Acteurs Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Nicholas Phipps, Dame Thora Hird, Michael Shepley, Tom Walls
Rôle Eileen Grahame
Note60% 3.004683.004683.004683.004683.00468
Debonair Michael Gore-Brown inherits a dress shop and becomes romantically involved with its manager, Eileen Grahame. But when a rival shop across the street always seems to get the new fashions first, some investigation is required.
Elizabeth of Ladymead
Réalisé par Herbert Wilcox
Origine Royaume-uni
Genres Drame, Guerre
Acteurs Anna Neagle, Hugh Williams, Isabel Jeans, Bernard Lee, Nicholas Phipps, Michael Shepley
Rôle Beth in 1854 / Elizabeth in 1903 / Betty in 1919 / Liz in 1946
Note60% 3.006373.006373.006373.006373.00637
Spring In Park Lane, 1h31
Réalisé par Herbert Wilcox
Origine Royaume-uni
Genres Comédie, Comédie romantique
Acteurs Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Tom Walls, Nigel Patrick, G. H. Mulcaster, Lana Morris
Rôle Judy Howard
Note70% 3.523743.523743.523743.523743.52374
The film tells the story of a footman, Richard, played by Michael Wilding, who is employed by Joshua Howard (Tom Walls), an eccentric art collector. His niece and secretary, Judy (Anna Neagle), has her doubts that Richard is the footman he pretends to be. In reality he is Lord Brent, brother of one of Judy's suitors, the Marquis of Borechester (Nicholas Phipps).
The Courtneys of Curzon Street, 2h
Réalisé par Herbert Wilcox
Origine Royaume-uni
Genres Drame, Romance
Acteurs Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Jack Watling, Michael Medwin, Coral Browne, Helen Cherry
Rôle Kate O'Halloran
Note65% 3.28073.28073.28073.28073.2807
The son of a baronet shocks class-conscious 1900 British society by marrying an Irish servant. The film chronicles 45 years in their lives together and apart.
Piccadilly Incident
Réalisé par Herbert Wilcox
Origine Royaume-uni
Genres Drame, Guerre
Acteurs Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Roger Moore, Coral Browne, Edward Rigby, Brenda Bruce
Rôle Diana Fraser
Note65% 3.2889853.2889853.2889853.2889853.288985
A married woman is believed dead in a shipwreck, but returns home with the Second World War at its height to find her husband remarried.
I Live in Grosvenor Square, 2h10
Réalisé par Herbert Wilcox
Origine Royaume-uni
Genres Drame, Guerre, Comédie, Comédie dramatique, Comédie romantique
Thèmes Documentaire sur la guerre, Documentaire historique, Politique, Documentaire sur la Seconde Guerre mondiale
Acteurs Anna Neagle, Rex Harrison, Dean Jagger, Robert Morley, Nancy Price, Ronald Shiner
Rôle Lady Patricia Fairfax
Note61% 3.052413.052413.052413.052413.05241
In the summer of 1943, after he is taken off combat operations for medical reasons, American SSgt John Patterson (Dean Jagger), an Army Air Force gunner, is billeted in the London home of the Duke of Exmoor (Robert Morley) in London's Grosvenor Square. He is befriended by the Duke and British paratrooper Major David Bruce (Rex Harrison), who has taken leave to contest a parliamentary by-election.