Courtneys Of Curzon Street, The; Courtney Affair, The

1633. THE COURTNEYS OF CURZON STREET (The Courtney Affair) (1947-Egland. With ANNA NEAGLE, MICHAEL WILDING, in the best tradition of British screen dramas, this is a sprawling, satisfying saga of just under 50 years in the life of an upper class London family, the Courtneys. It opens on New Years Eve, 1899, when the elder Courtney, the master of Courtney House, is off fighting the Boers in South Africa; the Story runs through 1945, and the Second World War. Along the way, there are births, deaths, separations and dreams, and young people seeking happiness while growing older – with the scenario bracketed by the different generations of Englishmen fighting and dying on foreign soil, just as the new century begins, young Edward Courtney chooses to wed Kate, who is beautiful and charming but, alas, his mother’s Irish housemaid. By marrying out of his class, Edward’s social position will surely be compromised. “If you break habits,” his mother warns him, “you may end up breaking hearts.” The film was the top money-earner in England in 1947, and for good reason: it’s extremely entertaining as it both exposes the folly of, and snobbery inherent in, England’s class structure; and it captures the stiff-upper-lip spirit that enabled the country to survive the trying times of this century’s first half. 112 minutes. Drama