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It's always a great thrill for me to see a long awaited film for the first time.This is a very hard title to obtain since the movie rights appear to be owned by TCM and they have not seen fit to issue it commercially on video yet.Don't they realise there is a whole army of movie buffs out there wanting to see these films?Certainly it has never even been shown on TCM in the UK to my knowledge.It seems one's only hope is to record it off TCM in the U.S.A. when they choose to transmit it.
I was fortunate in that my extensive American network was able to track down a copy to a dealer in the U.S. who specialises in rare videos.Well to the film!
Robert Walker is very good playing light comedic roles.His timing is good and in the central role of the bellboy he is...well...loveable.Its a similar part he was to play in "One Touch of Venus (1948) with Ava Gardner who he likewise addresses as "your majesty".Its a modern fairy tale where a European princess (the devine Hedy Lamarr), comes to New York to search for her American long lost love and to escape for a time royal protocol and the royal groom the court wants to assign to her.Her real love is a columnist on "The Gazette" who hangs out in a low dive and bar writing his stories for the paper.There is a touch of the plot of "Roman Holiday (1960) with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in the storyline of the royal princess socialising and having a romantic relationship with a commoner.Due to a misunderstanding, the bell-boy thinks she loves him instead and he temporarily abandons his crippled girlfreind Leslie (June Allyson) who lives in the flat above his, painting dolls for a living. The main sub plot involves keeping his simple frind Albert from joining the local hoodlums since Albert was once in a boys reformatory and has picked up some rather unsavory company.When the king of Hedy's country dies she becomes Queen and has to return at once to her native country.Being a generous queen she invites the bellboy to come back with her and for one mad moment the bellboy thinks she is in love with him and he might even become king!!.Hedy is courageous and participates in a bar room brawl, even getting arrested by the cops, then giving the other arrested "dames" a valuable diamond-studded cigarette case as a keepsake of the evening.Her American boyfriend is also startled to see her carted off in the police wagon.
Of course, we all knew from the first that the bellboy would end up with Leslie his crippled girl friend whose incapacity the doctor informs us is probably psychosomatic and not a purely physical disability.She just needs love (don't we all!).In a moment of truth Robert Walker sees the light and tactfully declines Hedy's offer of a passage on the boat back to her country.This inspires the new queen to abdicate at once as she wishes to live for love in the U.S. as well and become just a plain Mrs with the man she loves.So of course it all ends happily ever after.
Hedy is of course utterly gorgeous to look at and in her prime.That genuine Viennese accent perfectly convincing us of her central European pedigree.She is attended by a duchess lady in waiting played by Agnes Moorhead who puts on a passable accent.Robert Walker is very effective in the role of the bellboy and his real love, June Allyson, warms to her part and even shows us a little dancing sequence.There is a very imaginative scene where she dreams that she can walk and meets her prince charming who transforms from a frog to a prince in a court presided over by a kingly Albert!I wonder, did Michael Powell get his idea for the dreamlike never ending stairway for "A Matter of Life and Death (1946)from the one shown in this sequence?
Everyone is portrayed in a very sympathetic light so no one goes to bed unhappy.Good old fashioned Hollywood story telling at its best.I rated it 7/10.
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