Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
I Live in Grosvenor Square (1945)

Courtesy of ITV Global Entertainment Ltd

Main image of I Live in Grosvenor Square (1945)
35mm, 114 min, black & white
DirectorHerbert Wilcox
Production CompanyHerbert Wilcox Prod's
 Associated British
ProducerHerbert Wilcox
StoryMaurice Cowan
ScreenplayWilliam D. Bayles
 Nicholas Phipps
CinematographyOtto Heller
EditorVera Campbell
MusicAnthony Collins

Cast: Anna Neagle (Lady Patricia Fairfax); Rex Harrison (Major David Bruce); Dean Jagger (Sgt John Patterson); Robert Morley (Duke of Exmoor); Jane Darwell (John's Mother)

Show full cast and credits

An English Duke's daughter, engaged to marry an English army Major, falls in love with a US Air Force sergeant billeted at her father's London residence during the war. Both men are involved in sacrifices of different kinds.

Show full synopsis

I Live in Grosvenor Square started what became known as 'the London cycle', a series of highly successful melodramas and light comedies starring Anna Neagle, and directed by her husband Herbert Wilcox. Subsequent films co-starred Michael Wilding, but here Neagle's co-star is Rex Harrison, on a roll in 1945 with starring roles in Blithe Spirit (d. David Lean) and The Rake's Progress (d. Sidney Gilliat). Neagle plays Lady Patricia (a Duke's granddaughter who is in the WAAF), romantically involved with a British army Major and a US Air Force Sergeant. Both suitors display nobility and make sacrifices, and there is a matriarchal figure in the form of a housekeeper. These ingredients were repeated in the later Wilcox-Neagle films.

Grosvenor Square's view of England is similar to those of Mrs Miniver (US, 1942) and Powell and Pressburger's A Canterbury Tale (1944), centring on a village, its church and the local gentry. As the villagers are tenants, feudal elements remain, so a common interest binds the toffs in their castle and locals in the inn. The Way to the Stars (d. Anthony Asquith, 1945) also featured heroic US airmen, and bonds between the UK and US were celebrated in A Matter of Life and Death (Powell and Pressburger, 1946).

As in the last, the 'special relationship' is the main theme. There are references to the 'little pink book' about British customs. A US soldier asks Patricia to dance, which soon turns into a jive. Soprano Irene Manning from Yankee Doodle Dandy (US, 1942) sings 'Home', and the power of song to affect emotions is beautifully depicted. The Duke presents an American flag to the village school, and speaks of those who sailed from Plymouth 300 years ago (though 300 years of local tradition are overturned when Major Bruce, standing as a Tory candidate in a Parliamentary by-election, is defeated by Labour in the shape of a Clement Attlee lookalike). Bruce finally sets off on his mission with an American pilot who married an English girl.

A winning combination of propaganda and melodrama, the film was released around the time of German surrender, and was second in popularity in 1945 to The Seventh Veil (d. Compton Bennett). Widely screened in the US (as A Yank in London), it greatly influenced American perceptions of England as a land of grand rural estates, decent nobility and cheerfully servile peasants - perceptions still with some currency today.

Roger Philip Mellor

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
1. A bit of America in Piccadilly Circus (6:57)
2. A double defeat (2:50)
Production stills
Monthly Film Bulletin review
Heller, Otto (1896-1970)
Morley, Robert (1908-1992)
Neagle, Anna (1904-1986)
Wilcox, Herbert (1890-1977)