On a visit to a spa in the Ruritanian Kingdom of Tyronia, American financier Richard Gresham meets the country's ruler, King Anatol XII, and convinces him that he could arrange for $50 million dollars in loans to benefit his impoverished nation if the king's charming daughter could do reciprocal public relations in the States. Unfortunately Princess Catterina falls ill with the mumps and is quarantined for a month aboard ship. Rather than risk having his very lucrative endorsement deal fall through, Gresham hires out-of-work lookalike actress Nancy Lane to impersonate Catterina. Complications arise when she falls in love with investigative reporter Porter Madison, who is looking into Nancy Lane's disappearance. She tries to maintain the precariously delicate balance of playing the two parts convincingly with both the loan and her heart at stake. Written by
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
THIRTY DAY PRINCESS (Paramount, 1934), directed by Marion Gering, is a lighthearted comedy starring Sylvia Sidney as Princess Catterina of Taronia coming to New York City to seal a loan for her homeland. Upon her arrival by ship, she acquires the mumps and is unable to create favorable public opinion for a proposed bond issue. Richard Gresham (Edward Arnold), a financial banker, hires detectives to locate a substitute. They find one in Nancy Lane (Sylvia Sidney), a struggling young actress who happens to be the perfect double for the stricken princess. While impersonating the princess, Nancy meets up with Porter Madison II (Cary Grant), a newspaper publisher who at first is against Gresham's granting a large foreign loan, but has a change of heart when he becomes very much interested in the "princess," who happens to be engaged to marry another. Further merry mix-ups complicated matters which add to the fun of the story.
What's very rare about this seldom seen production is that it's Sylvia Sidney's rare opportunity on screen in both comedy and playing dual personalities. Usually type-cast as a poor working girl struggling to fight the Depression, or a hard-luck girl in love with the wrong type of guy, THIRTY DAY PRINCESS is a welcome change of pace for Sidney, who handles this comedic assignment quite well. It also reunited her opposite Cary Grant for the third and final time, with their best known collaboration being MADAME BUTTERFLY (Paramount, 1932), also directed by Marion Gering.
The supporting cast includes Henry Stephenson as King Anotol; Lucien Littlefield as Parker; George Baxter, Edgar Norton, and Robert McWade as the managing newspaper editor, among others. Preston Sturges, a future comedy director of the 1940s, is credited for its screenplay.
THIRTY DAY PRINCESS has some bright comedic moments, especially from Vince Barnett as the bumbling, bloodhound and jealous Count Nicholeus, a sorry excuse for a man whom the real princess is assigned and engaged to marry. Another highlight occurs later on when impersonator Nancy Lane converses face-to-face with the look-alike royal princess, giving the movie-going audience two Sylvia Sidney's for the price of one.
Although not a laugh-out-loud comedy, confidentially THIRTY DAY PRINCESS is really a cute comedy that holds up well during its 73 minutes of screen time. Sadly it's not as well known as some of the other comedies of that period, but it's still worth viewing mainly for the presence of Sidney and Grant, who always manage to rise above a predictable script, making it appear both original and entertaining. Distributed on DVD in 2006, double featured with KISS AND MAKE-UP (1934) also starring Grant.
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