Good Things Happen to Good People
Ada Harris (Angela Lansbury) has worked hard all her life as a char lady to put food on the table come rain or come shine but then one day she spots her bosses beautiful Dior dresses and falls in love with them, vowing one day to own one for herself. The days, weeks, months and years pass but Ada works hard, scrimps and saves and does the pools till she has enough money to head to Paris and buy herself a Dior dress all of her own. Except on arrival she is presented by snobbery with the fashion house refusing to allow Ada to buy one as she is too common to wear a Dior dress. But Ada is not deterred and her journey leads to her making many friends with various people whose lives are enriched by her wisdom and kind heart.
Ignore for a minute that "Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris" stars the wonderful Angela Lansbury and what you have is a movie which seems slightly unsure of what it is. There are moments of amusement such as Ada's friend Vi being excited when Ada gets a letter from the pools company, but "Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris" isn't an all out comedy. There are some moments of drama but nothing which is incredibly powerful, just a series of it has to be said contrived events in the life of Ada as she toils to earn enough money to buy a Dior dress. And whilst all of this builds to create a charming tale of a good woman who helps others and works hard it kind of lacks drive. Although in its simple ways it works best as it gets across the message about doing right and working hard gets results in the end.
But then there is Angela Lansbury and whilst "Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris" also features the wonderful Lila Kaye, Diana Rigg and Omar Sharif it belongs to Lansbury and without her would have struggled. Lansbury make for an amusing cockney char woman who fills her character with everything you expect from a woman who has survived the blitz having worked hard all her life, the sort of woman who you would seen in her apron scrubbing the front step as whilst not having much is proud. Lansbury also makes her such a warm and welcoming character that it is impossible not to fall in love with her simple charms and hard working, do good attitude. I could go on because for all the familiar faces who show up throughout the movie it would be nothing without Angela Lansbury.
What this all boils down to is that "Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris" is a good hearted, inoffensive drama which is easy to watch yet leaves a lasting impression due to its good heart. But it is a movie which works because of Angela Lansbury and the warmth and humour she brings to the movie and without her it would be forgettable.