Irene ★★

Anne Neagle, a star of British films, came to Hollywood with her husband, producer and director Herbert Wilcox in the early 40’s. In England, Neagle had specialized in biographies; in Hollywood, she switched to musical comedy, including No, No, Nanette (1940), Irene (1940), and Sunny (1941).

Irene is the story of an Irish girl who catches the eye of rich, handsome Ray Milland. The plot follows the rocky romance of Neagle and Milland to its happy conclusion.

Besides Milland, Neagle is supported by an experienced cast of talented and attractive actors, including Roland Young, May Robson, and Billie Burke.

The film includes a section of brilliant technicolor which showcases the red-haired Neagle in a blue evening gown. Neagle has a song and a solo dance. An African-American dance sequence seems to have been thrown in as a time filler.

The plot lacks coherence. Neagle is not attractive as an Irish lass. She speaks in a phony Irish accent, which presumably was intended to enhance her appeal, but is only irritating.

Back in England, Neagle had great success, especially in films made with co-star Michael Wilding after the war.

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