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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 »
A thoroughly winning little depression-era romantic comedy, THIRTY DAY PRINCESS manages to turn it's fairly routine storyline into a fresh and engaging picture that entertains throughout it's entire runtime. The plot has the Princess of the imaginary country Taronia (Sylvia Sidney) touring the US as an ambassador for her financially struggling country, with the hope of securing a major loan from the US. Upon arrival, our unfortunate Princess is stricken with the mumps, and is replaced by a look-alike actress (also played by Sidney), who doubles the ill Princess until she filly recovers. Complicating matters, however, is an ambitious news executive (Cary Grant), who is skeptical of the US approving such a large loan and wants to get to know out titular princess first hand.
As evidenced by the summary above, the film's plot was flimsy and formulaic even by the standards of the mid-thirties, but the picture manages to surprise viewers by using such an overly-familiar plot device as a springboard for sharp dialogue and delightful, fully-realized performances. Any film of this nature is almost entirely dependent upon its lead performer, and Sylvia Sidney handles her dual role with utter conviction, truly convincing viewers that she is two completely different characters. There is also an irresistible chemistry between Sidney and the young Cary Grant, who offers flashes of the brilliant actor he would soon become. In the end, the film manages to escape its well-worn premise and emerge as a genuine delight as one of the more underrated comedies of the thirties.
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