I remember the first time I watched 1940's Irene. I was sitting in a Days Inn in Sedona, Arizona. I watched the first 15 minutes then headed out to play tourist.
It's two years later and I've finally watched the whole thing. Boy, what I was missing. I'll leave you to TCM to read up on the plot, but in a nutshell: " An Irish shop girl falls in love with a high society boy." Shop girl being Anna Neagle and high society boy being Ray Milland. A great supporting cast of rich character actors too: Arthur Treacher, Billie Burke, Roland Young, and more.
I nearly had a heart attack and fell off the chair when the film switched from B&W to Technicolor. Sure, it's not the same color you see today, but Technicolor has character: Anna Neagle's red hair & blue dress; Ray Milland's jet black hair; a slick black dance floor. Did I mention Ray Milland in color? The film clicks back into B&W after about 20 minutes. That's an odd feeling.
Oh, and Alan Marshal, another high society boy vying for Anna's heart, kinda looks like Timothy Dalton to me.