Cinema: Upward Nobility

Lady L. Careering madly through the countryside, a battered Daimler eats up both sides of the road, veers away into grassy fields, finally wheezes to a halt at one of England's stateliest homes. Out of the limousine steps Sophia Loren as Lady L, a spruce 80-year-old who bears a striking resemblance to the late Dowager Queen Mary. Well-wishers greet her with respect, for she is the progenitor of four generals, an admiral, a bishop and other dignitaries, several of whose names escape her.

It is a fine loony beginning for a high comedy in period style, but the flashbacks that follow bring...

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