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William A. Wellman
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Dolores del Rio,
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
Routine Comedy/Mystery Made Watchable by an Excellent Cast
THE PRINCESS COMES ALONG is a comedy/mystery that unfortunately splits itself in the middle rather than being a mix of both genres throughout the film. It stars Carole Lombard as a girl from Brooklyn who while in England somehow manages to persuade film producers that she is a Princess Olga of Sweden, is signed to a contract and on her way to America to make movies. The movie opens with the excited passengers and press eager to see the Princess board the ship (just how this ruse is successfully pulled off strains credibility, Sweden, after all is a major nation, and surely any allegations that a Princess was going to enter pictures would have quickly been denied and disproved).
Fred MacMurray is a popular bandleader who is also on board and takes a shine to the Princess, attempting to romance her. She is indifferent but when a blackmailer is found dead in her room she becomes warmer to MacMurray's offer of friendship as he and buddy William Frawley remove the body. That still means a murder is loose on board and there's more mayhem in the works before the killer is revealed.
This movie starts out an engaging 1930's romantic comedy with Lombard deliciously parodying Garbo as the faux Royal Highness. Alas, the movie literally turns deadly after the murder and it's pretty much a straightforward murder mystery with a surprise that isn't much of a surprise if you've seen movies of this nature. Nevertheless, the cast does very well with the material, particularly the young Fred MacMurray, quite dashing in his late twenties, and the delicious character actress Alison Skipworth, here cast as the Princess' haughty traveling companion but in truth another unemployed actress and of course the always great Lombard. Months after their triumph in MY MAN GODFREY, Lombard is reunited with Mischa Auer with the latter in a small role as the Russian detective, one of several international detectives who just so happen to be all traveling on board. THE PRINCESS COMES ALONG is not one of the better Lombard films but it's a pleasant 90 minutes and worth at least one viewing.
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