Phyllis Calvert

I have just watched an episode of Midsomer Murders with John Nettles from the year 2000, and this looks to have been Phyllis Calvert’s last ever role – she died in 2002, ending a career in films and Television that spanned more than 60 years.

An early role was the love interest of George Formby in ‘Let George Do It’ from 1940, a story where George who is travelling with a Theatre Troupe somehow somehow gets on a boat to Norway where he is mistaken as from British Intellegence. Thus begins a quite exciting film – suitably intersperced with gaps to allow the famous George Formby songs which he delivers with his Ukelele

To star in a George Formby film at that was very much the icing on the cake for a young actress because these were extremely successful.

I recall a former Usherette saying that at that time, if there was a George Formby film on at the cinema, then it was a sell-out

Later, she again hit the jackpot with a series of British made films ‘Fanny By Gaslight’, ‘The Man in Grey’ and ‘Madonna of the Seven Moons’ alongside such actors as James Mason and Stewart Granger.

Madonna of the Seven Moons‘ is maybe the  best of these. Set in 1930s Italy, it tells the story of a young rape victim (played by Phyllis Calvert) who marries and has a daughter but, driven to madness by her early experiences, leads a double life. When gripped by madness, she loses all memory of her respectable life as the wife of a wealthy wine merchant and instead rushes into the arms of her gangster-lover, played by Stewart Granger.

Years later

Phyllis Calvert This Is Your Life

THIS IS YOUR LIFE – Phyllis Calvert, actress, was surprised by Eamonn Andrews  on the doorstep of her West London house.

Phyllis trained at the Margaret Morris School of Dancing and performed from the age of ten, gaining her first film role at 12. She acted in repertory theatre and in several films, before making her London stage debut in A Woman’s Privilege in 1939.

Her role in the Gainsborough Studios production of the melodrama The Man in Grey in 1943 confirmed her status as a leading actress, and during the following decade she starred in many romances, including Fanny by Gaslight and My Own True Love, becoming one of Britain’s highest paid film stars.

Phyllis also appeared on television, playing Mrs March in the 1958 serials Little Women and Good Wives, and in 1970, she landed the leading part of an agony aunt with problems of her own in the drama series Kate. I couldn’t remember this at all.

This programme went out on December 20th 1972

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