Storm in a Teacup
Theatrical poster
Directed by
Screenplay by
  • Donald Bull
  • Ian Dalrymple
Based on
Produced byVictor Saville
Stanley Haynes
CinematographyMutz Greenbaum
Edited by
Music byFrederick Lewis
Release date
  • 12 June 1937 (1937-06-12) (UK)[1]
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Storm in a Teacup is a 1937 British romantic comedy film directed by Ian Dalrymple and Victor Saville and starring Vivien Leigh, Rex Harrison (in his first starring role[2]), Cecil Parker, and Sara Allgood. It is based on the German play Sturm im Wasserglas [de] by Bruno Frank, as well as the English-language adaptations: London's Storm in a Teacup and Broadway's Storm Over Patsy, both written by James Bridie.[3] A reporter writes an article that embarrasses a politician. Meanwhile, the newspaperman is also attracted to his target's daughter.


A Scottish town's powerful provost (mayor) struts and brags about his city "improvements" while the cowed villagers are sullenly forced to put up with him. A free-spirited English reporter (Rex Harrison) is brought from London to work for the local newspaper and soon clashes with the autocrat—while falling in love with his daughter (Vivien Leigh). He strikes out against the Provost by taking up the cause of a poor woman who sells ice cream from a pushcart, and has dared to protest against the provost's new "dog tax". The local police are about to put her sheepdog Patsy to death because she cannot pay the back taxes and subsequent fine incurred by her ownership of the dog.

The idealistic young reporter exposes the injustice in the local newspaper before the editors have a chance to suppress the article, and it sparks an indignant protest campaign all over England and Scotland. The furious provost rashly sues the "cheeky little rotter from London" for libel. A courtroom scene ensues which strongly resembles a "kangaroo trial" until, in view of local support for the defendant (with the villagers humorously barking like dogs) and the budding love affair between the reporter and the provost daughter, the provost gives up, and all is happily resolved.



At the time of the film's initial release, reviews were favourable. In The New York Times, Frank S. Nugent called it "an engaging miniature" and "a splendid comic brew".[4] The critic for The Montreal Gazette wrote, "the excellent story is done fullest justice by the directors, Victor Saville and Dalrymple, and by the large and often-brilliant cast."[3] The critic for Boys' Life called it "a riot of fun for the audience."[5]

The number of favourable reviews grew over time. Leonard Maltin rated this movie three out of four stars and called it "witty social comedy."[6] The book Guide to British Cinema considered this film as one of Victor Saville's "well-crafted, genre films" and "the breezy Rex Harrison–Vivien Leigh social comedy."[7] The book British Film Directors: A Critical Guide called it "a whimsical comedy with anti-fascist undercurrents."[8] The book A Chorus of Raspberries: British Film Comedy 1929–1939 considered this film "one of the best British comedies of the decade."[9]

Anne Edwards, author of the 1977 biography of Vivien Leigh, considered this film a "funny but inconsequential comedy;" nevertheless, she called Leigh's performance "witty and warm" for her role that "could not have given [Leigh] much pride of accomplishment."[10]

Radio version

The play was adapted for Australian radio in 1940 with Peter Finch.[11]


  1. ^ Edwards. p. 300. The American Film Institute Catalog claimed that this film was released on 25 February 1937. The copyright date, as AFI and Copyright Catalog declared, was 10 August 1937.
  2. ^ Frank Miller. "Storm in a Teacup (1937)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 25 December 2011.[verification needed]
  3. ^ a b Herbert J. Whittaker (11 June 1938). ""Storm in a Teacup" Is Given Excellent All-Round Treatment in Saville-Dalrymple Version". The Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  4. ^ Frank Nugent (22 March 1938). "Storm in a Teacup (1937): The Screen; Tight Little Comedy Is 'Storm in a Teacup,' Which Mr. Korda Is Showing at the Little Carnegie". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Mathiews, Franklin K. (January 1938). "Movies of the Month". Boys' Life. New York City: The Boy Scouts of America. p. 23. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  6. ^ Maltin, Leonard (2008). Leonard Maltin's 2009 Movie Guide. New York City: The Penguin Group. p. 1322. ISBN 978-0-452-28978-9.
  7. ^ Mayer, Geoff (2003). Guide to British Cinema. Westport, Connecticut: Greewood Publishing Group. p. 334. ISBN 978-0-313-30307-4.
  8. ^ Shail, Robert (2007). British Film Directors: A Critical Guide. Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-8093-2832-1.
  9. ^ Sutton, David. A Chorus of Raspberries: British Film Comedy 1929–1939. Exeter, United Kingdom: University of Exeter Press. p. 224.
  10. ^ Edwards. p. 68.
  11. ^ Australasian Radio Relay League., "JONATHAN LISTENS TO PLAYS", The wireless weekly : the hundred per cent Australian radio journal, 35 (4 (January 27, 1940)), Sydney: Wireless Press, nla.obj-719777473, retrieved 16 March 2024 – via Trove


Further reading