|Index||4 reviews in total|
If I didn't know better, I'd have sworn I was watching a Jeanette
MacDonald/Nelson Eddy flick here. The plot is simple, the singing is
and anything that can go wrong - WILL.
The basic plot goes thus: a beautiful princess, who is to be married off to some prince that she has never met, is suddenly forced to flee her castle and home town as the villagers revolt, many with the intention to capture the poor princess. She has to get herself to neutral ground as quickly as possible, but then, once there, finds that she is still not safe, and can still be captured as she is not a citizen of the neutral territory, merely a refugee. Of course she can become a citizen by marrying someone who lives in the neutral territory, but then, what will her betrothed have to say about that idea?
A thoroughly enjoyable musical that I would gladly recommend to anyone. Princess Charming has 'charmed' 9 out of 10 stars from me.
A first rate cast - lead by the lovely Evelyn Laye (the heroine of
Evergreen as the Princess who weds in haste to avert assassination in a
revolution) and George Grossmith (son of the great Gilbert & Sullivan
comedian repeating the role of the know-nothing king the princess is
betrothed to which he had created in London and on Broadway [56p. at
the Imperial Theatre, 13 Oct.-29 Nov. 1930]) and filled up with players
not normally associated with musicals, Henry Wilcoxin (Anthony to
Claudette Colbert's Cleopatra, here the princess' emergency groom),
Frances L. Sullivan (the original stage Sir Wilfred in Agatha
Christie's Witness for the Prosecution and Pothinus in the film of
Shaw's Caesar & Cleopatra here as a revolutionary) and the great
British actress Yvonne Arnaud (as the fumbling king's real long-time
love), SHOULD have spelled a sure fire mini-classic of its genre, but
edited from a full evening's musical entertainment to a bare hour and a
quarter, the piece never really has a chance to show off its most
The British made film is as elaborately set as one could wish for the era, solidly acted and while lack of familiarity leaves the music (the original score was thrown out in favor of some acceptable Ray Nobel tunes) feeling rather minor (it is beautifully, if briefly sung), and the blending into the mix the farcical (music hall) characters of the inappropriately brash (note the intentionally obnoxious insurance salesman - a bit of genuinely classic business) which were a staple of the period humor will mystify some modern juvenile audiences, the real problem with Princess Charming is the break-neck editing which crams what seems like all the plot and a good solid third of the score into a time frame too short to absorb it all.
Well worth seeking out for the genuine student of musical theatre, but perhaps a bit too special for those who don't appreciate theatrical history or movies that don't blow things up or get their leads naked.
Many films of the mid-1930s offer light easy entertainment. In addition
Princess Charming has more unusual attributes: a deliberate take on the
Ruritanian plot lines of operetta is pointed out by intentionally
placing instances of incongruous singing with dialogue that is usually
spoken straight but is sometimes in a mixture of blank and rhyming
verse. The then (1934) modern concept of background music in films is
exposed, see the opening scene in the Prince's palace - is it diegetic
or non-diegetic, and predates High Anxiety and other such more obvious
spoofs by 40 odd years.
All in all an intelligent and well-worked little story that doesn't tax the attention but repays anyone digging it out. Buy a copy of the video (probably a 2nd hand one) and see if you agree it is worth nine out of ten.
It also has the peerless Max Miller - not a great screen performer but a this offers small memento of this unique Music Hall talent.
Take a hatchet-faced leading lady, a few uniformed nonentities to fawn
over her, an unfunny cheekie chappie, some nondescript music, and a
tinny orchestra to play it, and you've got Princess Charming, which
typifies the British musical of the time.
The plot is inspired by the Prisoner of Zenda type of books, but totally lacks the tension. There is revolution in the air - and no wonder. Those poor peasants having to pay their taxes to keep this bunch of singing, fawning, backstabbing parasites. No wonder they are in revolt.
The film has a sad ending. The revolt is quelled,they get married and live happily ever after. The happy ending would be if the revolutionaries got to leave a bomb in the palace and blow the whole lot of these cut-glass voiced poseurs to kingdom come.
|Plot summary||Ratings||External reviews|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|