Victor Saville Release dateJune 12, 1937 (1937-06-12) (UK)
November 22, 1937 (1937-11-22) (US) Based onSturm im Wasserglas (German) by Bruno Frank
Storm in a Teacup (UK) and Storm Over Patsy (US) by James Bridie WriterBruno Frank (play), James Bridie (Anglo-Scottish version), Ian Dalrymple, Donald Bull DirectorsVictor Saville, Ian Dalrymple ScreenplayIan Dalrymple, James Bridie, Donald Bull CastVivien Leigh (Victoria 'Vickie' Gow), Rex Harrison (Frank Burdon), Cecil Parker (Provost William 'Willie' Gow), Sara Allgood (Honoria Hegarty) Similar moviesIrvine Welsh's Ecstasy, Charlie & Louise - Das doppelte Lottchen, Under the Skin, Doors Open, Brave, Big Gold Dream: Scottish Post-Punk and Infiltrating the Mainstream
Storm in a Teacup is a 1937 British romantic comedy film starring Vivien Leigh, Rex Harrison in his first starring role, Cecil Parker, and Sara Allgood. It is based on the German play Sturm im Wasserglas by Bruno Frank, as well as the English-language adaptations: London's Storm in a Teacup and Broadway's Storm Over Patsy, both written by James Bridie. A reporter writes an article that embarrasses a politician. Meanwhile, the newspaperman is also attracted to his target's daughter.
A Scottish town's powerful mayor (referred to as "Provost") struts and brags about his city "improvements", while the cowed villagers are sullenly forced to put up with him. A free-spirited English reporter (Rex Harrison) is brought from London to work for the local newspaper and soon clashes with the autocrat - while falling in love with his daughter (Vivien Leigh). He strikes out against the Provost by taking up the cause of a poor woman who sells ice cream from a pushcart, and who has dared to protest against the mayor's new "dog tax". Her sheep dog, Patsy, is about to be put to death by the local police because she cannot pay the back taxes (and subsequent fine) incurred by her ownership of the dog.
When the idealistic young reporter exposes the injustice being done to her in the local newspaper (before the editors have a chance to suppress the article), it sparks an indignant protest campaign all over England and Scotland. The furious mayor rashly sues the "cheeky little rotter from London" for libel. A courtroom scene ensues which strongly resembles a "kangaroo trial" until, in view of local support for the defendant (with the villagers humorously barking like dogs) and the budding love affair between the reporter and the mayor's daughter, the mayor gives up, and all is happily resolved.
Vivien Leigh as Victoria Gow
Rex Harrison as Frank Burdon
Cecil Parker as Provost William Gow
Sara Allgood as Honoria Hegarty
Ursula Jeans as Lisbet Skirving
Gus McNaughton as Horace Skirving
Edgar K. Bruce as McKellar (credited as Edgar Bruce)
Robert Hale as Lord Skerryvore
Quentin McPhearson as Baillie Callender (credited as Quinton Macpherson)
Arthur Wontner as Procurator Fiscal
Eliot Makeham as Sheriff
George Pughe as Menzies
Arthur Seaton as Police Sergeant
Cecil Mannering as Police Constable
Ivor Barnard as Watkins
Cyril Smith as Councillor
W. G. Fay as Cassidy (credited as W G. Fay)
Scruffy as Patsy, the dog
At the time of the film's initial release, reviews were favourable. In The New York Times, Frank S. Nugent called it "an engaging miniature" and "a splendid comic brew". The critic for The Montreal Gazette wrote, "the excellent story is done fullest justice by the directors, Victor Saville and Dalrymple, and by the large and often-brilliant cast." The critic for Boys' Life called it "a riot of fun for the audience."
The number of favourable reviews grew over time. Leonard Maltin rated this movie three out of four stars and called it "witty social comedy." The book Guide to British Cinema considered this film as one of Victor Saville's "well-crafted, genre films" and "the breezy Rex Harrison–Vivien Leigh social comedy." The book British Film Directors: A Critical Guide called it "a whimsical comedy with anti-fascist undercurrents." The book A Chorus of Raspberries: British Film Comedy 1929–1939 considered this film "one of the best British comedies of the decade."
Anne Edwards, author of the 1977 biography of Vivien Leigh, considered this film a "funny but inconsequential comedy;" nevertheless, she called Leigh's performance "witty and warm" for her role that "could not have given [Leigh] much pride of accomplishment."