When Joan Greenwood opened on Broadway in The Confidential Clerk most critics were so anxious to unravel the play's meanings that they relegated Miss Greenwood to their 20th paragraphs. Shortly afterward, Audrey Hepburn came to town in a less murky production and had every reviewer reduced to ardent grovelings. It never seemed quite fair.
But in the old days--three years ago--the situation was reversed. Joan Greenwood starred in Young Wives' Tale and she managed to make Miss Hepburn's brief role in the film seem even more negligible than it was. The picture deals with the problems of two young couples and their children sharing a house. Thrown in also is a perplexed nanny, baffled by the interchangeable embraces the spies between the various mates. Miss Hepburn is on hand as a man-hungry secretary who considers any male civility a proposition.
It is always a pleasure to watch the two in action, and Nigel Patrick and Helen Sherrer give admirable support to the whimsy. When the picture does occasionally misfire, it is only because the script writers mis-measured that formula of slapstick and sophistication which the English usually prescribe with such success.
Also on the bill is The Last Holiday, in which Alec Guinness is again versatile and funny, though more melancholy than in his celebrated series of roguery.