This amateur black comedy offers revealing insights into some of Britain's 1920s elite. Shot at the majestic Surrey home of media magnate Lord Beaverbrook, it features a cast and crew of his celebrity friends. The racist and sexist attitudes on display here aren't so surprising coming from Daily Express proprietor Beaverbrook, who would a decade later be a prominent voice for appeasing Hitler. But more curious is the involvement of socialist HG Wells and pioneering feminist Rebecca West - who is credited with the ('ironic'?) script.
In what might seem another sign of the relaxed upper-crust morality of the time, Rebecca West had by this time ended a long-term love affair with Wells and is thought to have also had an affair with Beaverbrook. Rebecca West's calling as a novelist rather than a screenwriter is clear from the often amusing but rather wordy intertitles, and the in-jokes inevitably lose something in translation. One reference that can be cleared up is the use of Yadil to cure the poisoned wives. Yadil Antiseptic Jelly was a 'wonder drug' widely advertised after the post-WWI flu epidemic, but in 1924 a chemist discovered it was basically scented formaldehyde. The film was produced on professional 35mm stock for private screenings in the gardens of Beaverbrook's palatial Cherkley Court home, near Leatherhead.