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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 veiled hat Lombard wears in the opening scene aboard the ship is the same hat in a different color, also worn by Marlene Dietrich in "Desire," released the same year, by the same studio, with the same costume designer, Travis Banton. See more »
Lady Gertrude Allwyn:
The story is from a novel entitled Lavender and Old Lace, but the name of the cinema has been changed to... um... She Done Him Plenty.
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Carole Lombard and Alison Skipworth are masquerading as a Swedish princess and her lady in waiting who are sailing to Hollywood to make a film. This is a bit of self ballyhoo that chorus girl Lombard from Brooklyn is giving for her film debut. Still band leader Fred MacMurray is intrigued by her.
Of course slimy blackmailer Porter Hall tries a little touch on both MacMurray and Lombard, MacMurray having done a stretch in jail as a juvenile. Later when Hall winds up murdered in Lombard's cabin, MacMurray moves the body and searches for the real killer. His only clue is that Hall had told him he had a third blackmail prospect on board the ship.
Easier said than done because also sailing on the ship are five police detectives from different countries on the way to a convention in California. When Hall's body does turn up, they all want to have a little competition as to who can crack the case first.
Sounds like a serious plot, but in fact it's a pretty breezy comedy with MacMurray and Lombard at their sophisticated best. One thing that was fascinating in the plot was that Mischa Auer and Sig Ruman being from the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany are playing detectives from the NKVD and the Gestapo respectively though that's hardly mentioned. Both are without their usual methods of investigation on the American cruise ship as is Tetsuro Komei for the Japanese. British Scotland Yard man Lumsden Hare and Surete detective Douglass Dumbrille round out our quintet of sleuths.
Best in the supporting cast is Hall as the blackmailer though. Also good is George Barbier as the ship's captain and William Frawley who a quarter of a century later would co-star with Fred MacMurray in My Three Sons is MacMurray's agent.
This was the second of four films MacMurray and Lombard did for Paramount in the Thirties. They were a good team together and don't get as much recognition as they should.
Despite the Thirties fashions and music, the film holds up very well today. It's Carole Lombard at her best.
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