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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 <email@example.com>
Watching That Lady In Ermine I was wondering what Betty Grable was doing in a project that seemed to be aimed for Marlene Dietrich to do. Someone over at 20th Century Fox may have decided one sex symbol is as good as another. Darryl F. Zanuck should have known better.
Betty plays a 19th century Italian countess whose domain has been invaded by a troop of Hungarian Hussars captained by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Her ghostly ancestor whose portrait hangs in the palace hall along with the rest of her distinguished family tree, sees no small resemblance in Doug now and another invader some 300 years earlier whom she dealt with when armies failed.
Besides that the current Betty has just been married to Cesar Romero and the invasion has come at a most inopportune moment, before things have been consummated. That's going to give anyone a bad attitude, I guarantee.
Fresh, wholesome all American Betty is NOT the actress to do seductive and mysterious. Marlene Dietrich might have put this over, but with Betty it falls flatter than yesterday's presidential candidate. She and Fairbanks have no chemistry at all, though Doug is as charming as ever and someone I can watch in anything.
Frederick Hollander and Leo Robin wrote the score for this film and This Is The Moment got an Oscar nomination for Best Song. That Lady In Ermine's one chance for Oscar glory fell to Buttons And Bows.
Ernest Lubitsch died midway during the film and Otto Preminger finished That Lady In Ermine. I can't believe Lubitsch had Grable in mind for the lead here. Neither will you if you see That Lady In Ermine.
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