Sunday Spotlight: Stage Door Johnny, Percy Courtney

Stage Door Johnnies wait for the lady performe...

In 2007, Richard appeared opposite Jessie Wallace as Percy Courtney,  the first of three husbands of famed music hall entertainer, Marie Lloyd. Lloyd was the most celebrated female artist in the first decade of the 20th century in England and her story was told in the television movie Marie Lloyd: Queen of the Music Hall

Courtney, a dandy and stage door Johnny,  picks out the young Marie as a future star. This adoring fan charms and disarms the teenager who soon ends up in his bed and with child. They marry and welcome their daughter a few months later. All goes well for a while, until Marie continues to spend more and more time with her fellow performers and fans and less and less time with her husband.

When Marie refuses to play the role of dutiful wife, Percy succumbs to the temptations of willing women and plentiful wine and their marriage disintegrates.  Some familiar faces in Armitage World appear here, including Shaune Parker, Masuku in Strike Back,  who plays the Showman, the narrator who appears throughout the film whilst Amanda Root, Monet’s second wife in The Impressionists plays Mrs. Chant. If you enjoy show biz bios, period dramas and musicals (and Mr. Armitage as another charmer with a darker side) then Marie Lloyd is for you..  (screencaps~RANet, other images Wikipedia)

Newlyweds Marie (Jessie Wallace) and Percy (RA).

Marie Lloyd

The real Marie Lloyd.Image via Wikipedia

About fedoralady

I'm an LA native--Lower Alabama, that is. My husband of more than 30 years and I live here on a portion of my family's former farm with two gorgeous calicos and a handsome GSD mix. My background is art education, and over the years I've been a teacher, department store photographer, sales associate and a journalist. My husband, his business partner and I have Pecan Ridge Productions, a video production company, for which I shoot & edit video and stills and manage marketing. I also still write part-time for the local paper. I love movies, music, art, photography and books, and my tastes in all of them are eclectic.

7 responses »

  1. Angie, this IS spooky…I just watched Marie Lloyd a couple of days ago and was about to ask you whether you were planning to do a post about it! 🙂 Confess, you do have mind-reading powers, don’t you?
    I thought RA did a great job in this one (as usual), he was heart-meltingly sweet at first (that proposal many proposals has he done on film?And weddings? Four? Five?) then he turned brutal and repulsive and it was very believable too. But again, I was underwhelmed by his leading lady. She did look every bit the 30 something even when she was supposed to be 17, and I just couldn’t warm up to her all the way through! I didn’t realize the Showman was played by the same actor as Masuku, until I read the comments on YT! He was good. I also liked the guy who played Freddie. Was Freddie her brother?

    • I love the proposal scene. Actually, when he is shaving himself in the moments leading up to the proposal, the angle and the lighting make him look positively angelic to me. I suspect we would have all enjoyed it more if someone other than Jessie Wallace had been cast. She does bear a pretty good resemblance to the real ML, but it was hard to buy her as a teenager in the first part of the movie.

      I watched this well before Strike Back aired, and never made the connection it was the same actor until I decided to rewatch ML and then it dawned on me.
      Yes, Freddie was her brother. I thought there were several good performances but it would likely have benefited from a more charismatic leading lady.

      • I was thinking of what my reaction would have been to a proposal like that..from a man like that.. She just smiled… I would have jumped up, flung myself in his arms and kissed the living daylight out of the guy! 🙂

  2. This is one of Richard’s roles that I rented rather than bought, and I’m glad I didn’t spend the money on a purchase. He was excellent as usual, moving from charmer to cad, but if he wasn’t in the frame, I found myself fast forwarding, and once he disappeared from the scene, I had no interest at all in the movie. I didn’t warm to Marie Lloyd’s character (or the actress) at all, in fact I found her downright annoying, and the style of music and performance of the era did nothing for me either. Richard was the only good thing about this movie, and he looked gorgeous in period costume as usual, even though he didn’t have the most attractive haircut!

    • I have referred to that as his “wonky” haircut. 🙂 Between the lack of sideburns (man rocks the ‘burns) and the odd little wavy crest, no, can’t say it was my favorite coiffure, but it was of the period. I thought there were several good performances, but I have to agree that Marie was an aggravating character at times. I kept thinking if she’d only made an effort to show Percy more attention, he might not have sought solace in others–of course, I do tend to be an apologist for his characters. 😉

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