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William A. Wellman
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A Swedish princess boards an ocean liner in Europe en route to an acting career in America, and finds herself getting inconveniently attached to a bandleader returning home. To complicate matters, a blackmailer on board apparently knows she is not who she claims to be - and he has his sights set on other passengers with secrets of their own. In the meantime an escaped killer has stowed away under someone else's identity, and is killing again to cover his tracks; five international police detectives on board are heading the investigation to find him. When evidence points to the princess and bandleader, they must find the killer themselves - before he finds them. Written by
The plot of this movie seems rather crazy. After all, Carole Lombard plays an American who can't get a job in Hollywood, so she pretends to be a Swedish princess (sort of like a royal version of Garbo) and is adored--and offered a film contract. Now you'd think this is a totally ridiculous idea, but in real life just a year later, Samuel Goldwyn introduced a Norwegian sensation--Sigrid Gurie. Unfortunately, when it was found out that Gurie was born in Brooklyn (exactly like Lombard's character), it didn't exactly help her film career! Now you'd think that having Lombard playing a rather broad Garbo impersonation would be silly, but because she was such a likable actress and it's such a cute film, they manage to carry it off well.
The film begins with Lombard coming aboard an ocean liner with a lot of hubbub from the press--after all, they think a princess is on her way to America. Once aboard, band leader Fred MacMurray falls for her and pursues her. However, unexpectedly, the comedy becomes a murder mystery--and both MacMurray and Lombard are suspects. However, MacMurray also knows that she was the victim of a blackmailer who was just murdered--and he knows she has something to hide. There's much more to the film than this, but you can just see it yourself--it's worth it.
Overall, the film works well because the writing is very good and the actors have nice supporting character actors on hand--such as William Frawley, Douglas Dumbrille and Sig Ruman. Plus, the ever slimy Porter Hall made for a great blackmailer. Clever and most enjoyable from start to finish.
Oh, and I must point out that this film allows the viewer to hear MacMurray Crooning! His voice, though a tad weak, was actually far better than I expected and was rather reminiscent of the singing of Dick Powell.
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