This is a 2007 TV movie about the famous music hall actress, Marie Lloyd, whose life was dogged with alcoholism and controversy. The titular role is filled by Jessie Wallace (of Eastenders fame.) while Richard Armitage plays the role of Percy Courtenay, her first husband.
I’m not an expert on Marie Lloyd’s life but I was looking online for this film as its been many years since I saw it originally. I’ve always been a fan of Richard Armitage’s acting – even if he plays a villain you cannot help but empathize with his character. I vaguely knew of Jessie Wallace and wanted to see if her stale archetype character was any different between roles.
Isofar, I was pleasantly surprised. For a TV movie, it has its limitations. There were moments when Wallace displayed typical ‘soap’ acting and it was a bit boring. At other times, the script was witty. Marie Lloyd clearly didn’t have an easy time on the stage, despite her success. As the film moves on, Courtenay’s attitude and behaviour as a result of Lloyd’s fame became less and less excusable. Despite this, the story felt very rushed and even if it was supposed to take place over the period of about 15 years, it felt like it was taking place over a matter of months. Lloyd was certainly treated badly by life and those who should have cared for her, even if she achieved fame and success.
One thing’s for sure, though. It puts across the rough-and-ready atmosphere of the music hall. Such things are lost to us now with the advancement of television and film. Alas, I don’t think this film will be anything better than mediocre.
MY RATING: ** / *****