|Directed by||Curtis Bernhardt|
|Written by||Karl Tunberg|
|Based on||Beau Brummel|
by Clyde Fitch
|Produced by||Sam Zimbalist|
|Edited by||Frank Clarke|
|Music by||Richard Addinsell|
|Distributed by||Loew's, Inc|
|Box office||$2.7 million|
Beau Brummell is a 1954 British historical film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was directed by Curtis Bernhardt and produced by Sam Zimbalist from a screenplay by Karl Tunberg, based on the 1890 play Beau Brummell by Clyde Fitch. The play was previously adapted as a silent film made in 1924 and starring John Barrymore as Beau Brummell, Mary Astor, and Willard Louis as the Prince of Wales.
The music score was by Richard Addinsell with Miklós Rózsa. The film stars Stewart Granger as Beau Brummell, Elizabeth Taylor, and Peter Ustinov as the Prince of Wales.
Clyde Fitch's play was written in 1890 as a vehicle for Richard Mansfield.
In 1934, there were two Beau Brummel projects announced. One was based on Fitch's play, to be made by Warner Bros., starring Leslie Howard. The other was produced by Edward Small starring Robert Donat. Neither film materialized.
Rights in the play went to MGM. In March 1939, they announced that Robert Donat would star in Beau Brummel to be made in London. Joseph Mankiewicz would produce. Filming was postponed due to the war. In March 1941, MGM said Clarence Brown would direct an adaptation of Fitch's play in London, starring Donat. However this film was never made.
In 1946, there was plans to make a British film about Brummel, which never materialized.
In March 1951, MGM announced they would make a film from Fitch's play as a vehicle for Stewart Granger, who had starred in King Solomon's Mines (1950) for the studio and been signed to a long-term contract. The producer would be Sam Zimbalist, who produced Mines. It was the follow the filming of The Light Touch. In June John Lee Mahin was assigner to write the script.
Filming was pushed back to enable Granger to make other films including Scaramouche, The Prisoner of Zenda (both 1952), All the Brothers Were Valiant, Young Bess (both 1953), and Robinson Crusoe. (The last project was not made).
In January 1953, Hedda Hopper announced the film would star Granger and Eleanor Parker who had just teamed successfully on Scaramouche. In April, Deborah Kerr was announced.
As late as May 1953, Granger was still expected to make Robinson Crusoe before Beau Brummell. The same month, Gottfried Reinhardt was assigned to direct. Robinson Crusoe was postponed due to the release of the Mexican film based on the novel. In July, Parker was still to be the co-star.
In July 1953, Kirk Douglas announced he would star as Brummell in his own Brummell project, to be called The Beau. However, it was not made.
In September 1953, Dore Schary, head of MGM, gave the job of directing to Curtis Bernhardt. By November 1953, Karl Tunberg was working on the script and he would receive sole credit.
Filming began in London on 15 November 1953.
The film was given a Royal Command Film Performance in London in November 1954 where it was shown to an audience of 10,000 including Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. Some criticized this as being in bad taste as the film featured scenes depicting George III, an ancestor of the Queen, being insane. Granger did not like the film.
According to MGM records the film earned $1,049,000 in the US and $1,652,000 elsewhere. In France, it recorded admissions of 634,778.
The film recorded a loss of $383,000.
The film ends with a deathbed reconciliation between a dying Brummell and the Prince, who as George IV is passing through Le Havre between his British and Hanoverian kingdoms. There is no record the king met Brummell again after the latter fled, in debt, to France in 1816 and in any case the scene is an anachronism; Brummell died at Caen in 1840 having survived George by almost ten years.
Elizabeth Taylor's character was a combination of several women in Brummell's life.