Set in the Gay 90's, the impoverished Duke of Bristol (Brook) and friend Richard Halton (Culver) seek mates with sizable dowries. Halton proposes to Maria (Lillie), who then asks him to her country estate, promising to give her reply "on approval," which means "depending on how the visit goes." Joining them are the Duke and Helen Hale (Withers), a well-off lady who quickly attracts the Duke's attentions. An involved game of romantic musical chairs follows.
A subtle, overlooked English treat, "On Approval" is top high-brow English comedy in the vein of Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward. Though the British upper-class reserve is ever-present, it's integral to the comedy, with the proper English language employed like a rapier. It's also a rare cinematic opportunity to see Clive Brook and stage comedienne Beatrice Lillie in action. Sophisticated, irresistible fun.