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The King and the Chorus Girl (1937)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 27 March 1937 (USA)
Ex-King Alfred VII is a young, handsome, and charming erstwhile monarch who once ruled a nation of two million people. Now all he has left are his Count Humbert and Duchess Anna, along with... See full summary »

Director:

(uncredited)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Fernand Gravey ...
Alfred Bruger VII (as Fernand Gravet)
...
Miss Dorothy Ellis
...
Count Humbert Evel Bruger
...
Donald Taylor
...
Duchess Anna of Elberfield
...
Babette Latour
Luis Alberni ...
Gaston
...
Folies Bergère Soloist
Al Shaw ...
Folies Bergère Entertainer (as Shaw)
Sam Lee ...
Folies Bergère Entertainer (as Lee)
Lionel Pape ...
Prof. Kornish
Leonard Mudie ...
Footman
Adrian Rosley ...
Concierge (as Adrian Roseley)
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Storyline

Ex-King Alfred VII is a young, handsome, and charming erstwhile monarch who once ruled a nation of two million people. Now all he has left are his Count Humbert and Duchess Anna, along with enough money to live an idle life in Paris with dozens of servants. He hasn't seen daylight in years; he prefers instead to drink himself into a stupor regularly. He's phenomenally bored, and a routine trip to a tedious cabaret finds a chorus girl flirting with him. He calls her to his apartment, apparently to seduce her as he's done many times before, but when she comes, he's passed out. Her outrage gives Humbert and Anna the idea that might bring Alfred out of his unhappy ennui - tell him she didn't come, and have her act as though he weren't so important after all. He of course pursues her with vigor and is snapped out of his apathy. But what happens if she falls in love with him? Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 March 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Grand Passion  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Duchess Anna of Elberfield: You're a very fortunate young lady, Miss Ellis.
Miss Dorothy Ellis: And a very nervous one. You see, I've never met royalty before. I don't think I'll know how to act. We haven't any royalty in America.
Count Humbert Evel Bruger: Well, I don't want to tell you how to run your country, but that is a mistake. A smart, well-dressed royalty--awfully good for the tourist trade.
Miss Dorothy Ellis: Well, we're getting along...
Count Humbert Evel Bruger: Oh, well...mmm-hmm...well, of course, if you're satisfied just to be 'getting along'!
See more »

Soundtracks

Sailing, Sailing, Over the Bounding Main
(uncredited)
Written by Godfrey Marks
Sung a cappella and hummed by Fernand Gravey
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User Reviews

 
Norman Krasna and Groucho Marx on the script!!...so what happened?
16 April 2007 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

I really only know FERNAND GRAVET from his playing of Johann Strauss in THE GREAT WALTZ and was not overly impressed with his by-the-numbers impersonation of the great music master.

So, truth be told, I wasn't expecting much from this little comedy co-starring him with JOAN BLONDELL, another so-so actress who occasionally had a bright role to play in films like A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN but usually had to be content with less than impressive roles in screwball comedies of the '30s and '40s.

Considering that the script for THE KING AND THE CHORUS GIRL is penned by Norman Krasna and Groucho Marx, it's a shame the material lacks the sort of wit to be expected when those two minds collaborated. Let me put it this way--Gravet is supposed to be able to sit through a show with his eyes wide open but asleep. That's the way I felt forcing myself to stay with this "comedy".

He sits patiently through KENNY BAKER's tenor solo at a nightclub in Paris on a huge art deco set but is soon transfixed by flirtatious bit of business from JOAN BLONDELL as a chorus girl flashing a mirror beam at his face and promptly decides he wants to have dinner with her.

Blondell is introduced to EDWARD EVERETT HORTON as a Count and MARY NASH as a Duchess before her dinner date with Gravet, as King Alfred VII. The trouble is the bored king has fallen asleep.

There's such a lack of wit in the writing that you may fall asleep too. Hard to believe that with this pleasant cast, Krasna and Marx couldn't do better. It's a screenplay that strains to be funny--but isn't.

Gravet is more animated than usual in comedy, but is most convincing when he's bored. Blondell is prettily photographed and pleasant as the chorus girl but it's a role that's no stretch for any young actress.

Wasted in a supporting role is JANE WYMAN (with French accent), who would later do another little Krasna comedy called PRINCESS O'ROURKE in a much better supporting role.

The slim plot depends upon Blondell's resistance to the King's charm, determined as she is to be as unimpressed as possible. Their first meeting ends disastrously with Blondell finding his behavior boorish. It's the sort of theme that was much better done years later with Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier in THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL.

Summing up: Fernand Gravet tries hard but he's no Cary Grant in screwball comedy--and both he and Blondell needed a better script!


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