Strike a Vesta
Musical biopic starring Pat Kirkwood as Vesta Tilley a music hall star from the 19th century who became a huge hit with her on stage male impersonations both in Britain and America. But off stage she finds herself courted by the handsome Walter de Frece (Laurence Harvey) leading to not only their marriage but also Walter becoming her manager.
If someone said Burlington Bertie to me I would be able to say that it is an old music hall number but I couldn't tell you anything else especially about the performer Vesta Tilley. As such I have to be honest and say that I was very much a blank book when I watched "After the Ball", hoping to be entertained and a little educated. Unfortunately I can't say the movie really achieved either as whilst we have some drama and music hall scenes it isn't that entertaining. Yes Pat Kirkwood sings nicely but she isn't overly memorable as Vesta and as for the back story surrounding Vesta's relationship that is a lot of over the top acting and melodrama but is just as forgettable.
Of course everything I have just said comes from someone who watched knowing nothing of Vesta Tilley. But I would imagine those who are fans of Vesta Tilley will appreciate the walk through of her life story taking in her efforts during the war whilst I am sure they will enjoy the musical scenes even if Kirkwood's male impersonation doesn't quite have the energy I would have expected.
What this all boils down to is that "After the Ball" is simply a biopic for those who already know Vesta Tilley and her story as without the background information this doesn't quite grab, entertain or inform like a good biopic should although the musical side is pleasant enough.