Ivor Novello: Portrait of a Star
by Paul Webb
Haus Books (London)
208 pages, $24.95
THE NAME “Ivor Novello” is perhaps only recognized on these shores by those Robert Altman movie fans who saw the director’s stylish British manor house whodunit Gosford Park (2001). In it, the dashing Jeremy Northam plays a movie star of the early 1930’s who’s a weekend guest at an English country estate. Altman’s main interest is the “upstairs/downstairs” drama of the fictional guests and their domestics, all ending in the host’s murder. But Northam’s character, entertaining himself at the piano, the object of every servant girl’s adoration, is a portrayal of a real English heartthrob, Ivor Novello.