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That Lady in Ermine (1948)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Fantasy, Musical  |  25 September 1948 (Sweden)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 426 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 7 critic

Circa 1861, Angelina, ruling countess of an Italian principality, is at a loss when invaded by a Hungarian army. Her lookalike ancestress Francesca, who saved a similar situation 300 years ... See full summary »

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, (uncredited)

Writer:

(screenplay)
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Title: That Lady in Ermine (1948)

That Lady in Ermine (1948) on IMDb 5.8/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Colonel Ladislas Karolyi Teglas / The Duke
...
Count Mario
...
Major Horvath / Benvenuto
Reginald Gardiner ...
Alberto
...
Luigi
Virginia Campbell ...
Theresa
...
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Storyline

Circa 1861, Angelina, ruling countess of an Italian principality, is at a loss when invaded by a Hungarian army. Her lookalike ancestress Francesca, who saved a similar situation 300 years before, comes to life from a portrait to help her descendant. Complicating factor: the newlywed countess feels strangely drawn to the handsome invader... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

GAY, MUSICAL COMEDY...SPARKLING WITH SPICY SITUATIONS! (original ad - all caps)


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 September 1948 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

This Is the Moment  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,484,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie turned out to be a box office flop. On its initial release it made one million dollars less than it cost to make. It is rarely seen and has only appeared on Turner Classic Movies once. See more »

Goofs

If you watch when the Lady in Ermine is dancing with Colonel Ladislas Karolyi Teglas / The Duke her shoes change from the heels to wedges. See more »

Quotes

Col. Ladislas Karolyi Teglas: If one is in love, one doesn't need an umbrella.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Costume Designer (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

This Is the Moment
(uncredited)
Written by Friedrich Hollaender
Lyrics Leo Robin
Sung by Betty Grable and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wheee! That was fun
9 May 2005 | by (England) – See all my reviews

I enjoyed this film far more than anything had led me to anticipate; from reading other comments here, I suspect it benefits enormously from being seen on a full-size screen in the cinema, in the company of a cheerful and enthusiastic audience. I was lucky enough to have that experience, borne up on ripples of laughter from all around, and had an immensely good time with this undemanding comedy.

For it is as a comedy that it shines, if it shines anywhere at all. The music is nothing special -- in fact, I hadn't realised it *was* a musical, and was very surprised when the assembled ancestors burst into half-spoken lyric -- but I do have to admit that the half-threat, half-promise of 'Oh, what I'll do...' has proved far more catchy than it ever seemed at the time, as it's still going round and round in my head!

The plot, such as it is, largely pivots around the past history of the eponymous Francesca, a sixteenth-century portrait sporting a distinctly anachronistic hairstyle and fur-coat. Her idea on the sanctity of marriage don't quite jibe with those of her distant descendant, the Countess Angelina, and one can almost hear the storyline creaking at the seams under the strain of the Production Code in order to ensure that the heroine arrives unsullied in her much-delayed marriage-bed with the right man...

The romance is scarcely earth-shattering, and in fact the first few scenes, played pretty well straight, verge on the tedious. But where script and film really come to life is in the battle of the sexes that follows. The impudence of Douglas Fairbanks Jr's courtship of Betty Grable's married Angelina is equalled only by Betty-Grable-as-Francesca's pursuit of him in turn, culminating in complete role-reversal in the hilarious fantasy sequence where she -- literally -- sweeps him off his feet. This is probably the comic climax of the plot, although the consequences of the Colonel's understandable confusion are worked out with a deft touch in the remaining two 'acts' of the operetta-structure, and the spectacle of Fairbanks' blissful, bemused awakening is more or less worth the price of admission on its own.

Grable is entirely convincing in establishing her two contrasting characters, wisely gets almost all the (limited) singing opportunities, and shares the honours where the swathes of quotable dialogue in the various verbal duels are concerned. But in the field of unspoken reaction she is really outclassed by her male supporting leads; Fairbanks in particular is an absolute treat in a number of wordless sequences whose set-up and humour is worthy of the silent screen.

This film is too uneven in style to be a classic, varying from sparkling repartee to hackneyed tedium. But at its best it is quite honestly very funny indeed, and brought a round of spontaneous applause and laughter across the auditorium at the end as the lights went up. Out of tune with its times, it may have failed to draw contemporary audiences -- but, on this showing, really didn't deserve to be disowned by both Grable and Preminger, the (uncredited) director. This is no masterpiece, but a thoroughly entertaining minor work, and I for one found myself grinning in remembrance all the way home.


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