The Man Who Loved Redheads

The Man Who Loved Redheads is a 1955 British comedy film directed by Harold French and starring Moira Shearer, John Justin and Roland Culver.[2] The film is based on the play Who is Sylvia? (1950) by Terence Rattigan,[3] which is reputedly a thinly veiled account of the author's philandering father.[4] The film follows the play fairly closely, its main difference being the turning of Sylvia into a redhead.[5]

The Man Who Loved Redheads
Directed byHarold French
Produced byJosef Somlo
Written byTerence Rattigan
StarringMoira Shearer
John Justin
Roland Culver
Music byBenjamin Frankel
CinematographyGeorges Périnal
Edited byBert Bates
Distributed byBritish Lion Films (UK)
Release date
  • 7 February 1955 (1955-02-07) (UK)
Running time
100 mins
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£94,870 (UK) [1]

The film contains a ballet sequence featuring extracts from The Sleeping Beauty, which was decorated by Loudon Sainthill.[6][2]


Young peer and junior member of the Foreign Office Mark St. Neots (John Justin) is obsessed with the memory of Sylvia (Moira Shearer), a 16-year-old redhead he met at a party as a boy, and vowed he would love forever. Now older and respectably married, Mark still retains his image of the beautiful young girl with the red hair, and spends the rest of his life searching for her, through a string of casual affairs.



The film was the last movie from director Harold French:

I didn't like that - I didn't enjoy making it, or seeing it. I got on all right with Moira but I didn't think she was quite strong enough. I felt we were under-cast. You couldn't meet a nicer man than the leading man, John Justin, but I really wanted Kenneth More. But it wasn't a very good play and Terry did the screenplay as well. Of course Gladys Cooper steals the whole thing in the last few minutes... I quarrelled with Korda about it. I had a clause in my contract with him that he wasn't to come on the set, but he did come a few times and suggest very old fashioned ideas. His days as a great producer were pretty much over by then and he was tired.[7]

Critical reception

In a contemporary review, The New York Times wrote, "With the aid of an expert cast and a director endowed with a deft, comic touch and a high regard for the subtleties of the English language, Mr. Rattigan and the producers have created a charming lark, light as a zephyr and just as welcome these days," before singling out Moira Shearer, who "In essaying the roles of the 'redheads,' has developed acting talents that are both surprising and refreshing";[6] while more recently, The Evening Standard wrote of the film, "it's featherweight, but it's fun";[4] TV Guide noted "An engaging British comedy";[8] and Sky Cinema found it "Sometimes witty but often dated," concluding that "The film's attitudes to class do it little credit, but there is compensation in a string of cameo roles played with real dry wit: Harry Andrews' butler, Joan Benham's model, Patricia Cutts' good time girl, Moyra Fraser's sardonic Ethel and, perhaps best of all, Gladys Cooper as a wife of long experience who has all the answers."[3]


  1. Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p504
  2. "The Man Who Loved Redheads (1955)".
  3. "The Man Who Loved Redheads".
  4. "The Man Who Loved Redheads".
  5. Bertolini, John A. (17 November 2016). "The Case for Terence Rattigan, Playwright". Springer via Google Books.
  7. Brian McFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema, Metheun 1997 p214
  8. "The Man Who Loved Redheads".

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