Excerpt: When cinema began making the transition from silent movies to talkies, many actors got lost in the shuffle. Some just didn't have good speaking voices, some didn't quite have the tools necessary to make the adjustment and some were simply regarded as old news. One of the exceptions was British actor Clive Brook, who became a big star during the early 1920s (appearing in adaptations of Vanity Fair and A Tale of Two Cities , among other efforts) and retaining his stardom...
Excerpt: On Approval is an adaptation of Frederick Lonsdale’s popular play by Clive Brook, the sole directorial effort for a star actor better known for his lead roles. First released in 1944, the British comedy was a widely acclaimed classic of its era, if not well known today. Time magazine called it one of the ten-best films of 1944.
Summary: When most people hear the term "British comedy", their minds turn to Benny Hill or Monty Python (or possibly someone like their bastard stepchild, Eddie Izzard). But there is an older and more rarefied tradition of British comedy that is typically set in great houses and country mansions populated by egotistical blowhards, aristocrats with fancy titles and empty pockets, and well-dressed ladies who are either too smart or too dumb for the men courting them.
Conclusion: 'On Approval' is a great film that still packs quite a few comedic punches, despite its age. Both Lonsdale's original play and Brook's adaptation of it work brilliantly as a delightful send up to the sort of British aristocratic world of manners, respectability and decorum that has provided so many genuine laughs in so many different ways.