Irene (1940) starring Anna Neagle, Ray Milland, Roland Young, Alan Marshal, May Robson, Billie Burke, Arthur Treacher, Marsha Hunt directed by Herbert Wilcox Movie Review

Irene (1940)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Anna Neagle as Irene O'Dare in Irene (1940)

O'Dare of the Neagle

"Irene" is the sort of musical comedy which Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers could have made except they didn't instead we have Anna Neagle and Ray Milland doing a solid job in what is really a light weight movie. It is what it is a fun romantic comedy with a few nice musical numbers, some light weight confusion comedy and the likeability of its stars in particular Anna Neagle to make it watchable. The only thing which is stand out about "Irene" is the fact it is a black & white movie which features a colour sequence half way through, beyond that it is enjoyable but forgettable.

When Irene O'Dare (Anna Neagle - Yellow Canary) shows up at the residence of socialite Mrs. Vincent (Billie Burke) with a parcel for the lady of the house she meets Don (Ray Milland - Love Story) a friend of Mrs. Vincent's son Bob (Alan Marshal). Instantly smitten by this Irish beauty Don arranges for Irene to work as a model for fashion designer "Madame Lucy". But Irene also comes to the attention of Bob who also takes a shine to her much to the annoyance of long time friend Eleanor (Marsha Hunt). To add to matters when Irene attends a Ball as a model Mrs. Vincent and her well to do friends mistake her for a relative of the wealthy Lady O'Dare and suddenly Irene finds herself the talk of the town except of course she is living a lie and she's not the only one.

Alan Marshal and Ray Milland in Irene (1940)

"Irene" in many ways reminds me of today's modern romantic comedies because it is a movie with the exception of the colour sequence has nothing stand out about it just a nice movie to give some stars something to do. The storyline which features a pretty young shop worker ending up with two well to do suitors and living a lie is incredibly obvious and you can guess at some point the lies will be exposed and the truth about Irene will be revealed. You can also guess that some point she will learn the truth about one of the suitors, as to what he does, and of course you can also work out there will be a happy ever after ending where the right people end up together.

But whilst there is nothing stand out about "Irene" it is a pleasant distraction with a nice mix of comedy, romance and musical numbers. Now to be honest I wasn't expecting much from the musical side of the movie but watching Anna Neagle and Ray Milland dance was entertaining, not memorable but more fun as were the few songs which are included into the mix. And that is that thing about "Irene" it is fun with Billie Burke putting on plenty of airs and graces as the quirky Mrs. Vincent. In fact whilst Anna Neagle is lovely and Ray Milland seems to be having fun it is Billie Burke and also May Robson as Granny O'Dare who provide the most entertainment because they have the fun lines and funnier characters.

What this all boils down to is that "Irene" is a nice little romantic musical from 1940 which is a pleasant distraction. There isn't really anything other than a colour sequence which is stand out about it but for fans of musicals from the 30s and 40s it is worth a watch.