I first learned of her when I was a youngster. My mother loved Kay Kendall. When she made a point to sit down and watch Kendall one night when her only MGM musical aired on NBC's Saturday Night at the Movies, I had a hunch this was something special. I asked Mom to describe what Kay Kendall was like. Mom replied that she was "...sort of like a Rosalind Russell." Spot on, as a Brit might comment. If Auntie Mame had been redone, Kay Kendall would've been the perfect choice to follow in Rosalind Russell's pumps and proclaim, "Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Mom became a Kendall fan when she saw the 1953 British film, Genevieve. That was a comedy about an antique car rally competition. Genevieve is the name of one of the cars. In one scene, friends go to a posh nightclub. Kendall's ladylike character gets a tad tipsy, leaves the table and politely interrupts the boys in the band. She then proceeds to give out with a hot number on a trumpet. Like Roz Russell, Carole Lombard, Irene Dunne, Ginger Rogers and Claudette Colbert, Kay Kendall had the screwball comedy gift.
Kay Kendall made only two more movies after her deluxe turn in 1957's Les Girls. One co-starred her husband, actor Rex Harrison. She died of leukemia in 1959 at age 32.
Before Hollywood tapped her talents, one of Kay Kendall's British comedies was a 1955 film called Simon and Laura. About the early days of BBC broadcasts, it was several decades ahead of the reality TV craze. A bickering married couple rejuvenates its showbiz popularity and income by switching over to a reality format, if you will, and letting viewers into their "unscripted" family life on live television.
In the 1950s, Muriel Box continued to write screenplays. She also shattered the glass ceiling in 1949 and climbed into the male-dominated club of British film directors. Apparently, she didn't get the same kind of respect in Britain that Ida Lupino got in 1950s Hollywood for being a breakthrough movie director. Nonetheless, Muriel Box directed some major British and Hollywood film talents -- Sir Ralph Richardson, Richard Attenborough, Glynis Johns, Thora Hird, Laurence Harvey, Shelley Winters, Van Johnson and Julie Harris. Muriel continued to write and direct into the 1960s.