A tiny European country which for years has survived financially only through evading its bills and smuggling is finally facing bankruptcy, when a rich American agrees to save the place by buying it. But before, the deal is closed, he dies. His nearest relative and heir turns out to be a young woman with high ethical and democratic standards, but no experience with money, or affairs of state, or Europe. A charming young English visitor helps her to muddle through. Comedy and romance follow. Written by
Penny Princess finds American working girl Yolande Donlon the inheritor of a small kingdom that lies in that triangle where France, Italy, and Switzerland meet called Lampidorra. It seems as though the Lampidorrans owe bills all over Europe and the main occupation of the country is smuggling due to its geography. An American multi-millionaire buys the place, but dies before he can take title. His nearest heir is Donlan.
But of course the estate has to go through probate in America and what are the Lampidorrans to do? Especially since Donlan who has now become a princess has forbade smuggling.
Enter Dirk Bogarde who is on a trip to Switzerland to learn about the cheese industry. It seems as though the Lampidorrans have a kind of cheese that they playfully refer to as Schmeeze. With a few bumps in the road, Schmeeze solves all the problems both financial, geopolitical, and romantic between Donlan and Bogarde.
How does Schmeeze work, well that's the gimmick to the whole film. But here's a hint. In Lover Come Back Jack Kruschen might just have gotten a hold of the secret of Schmeeze when he was busy inventing VIP for Rock Hudson and his advertising agency.
Anyway Penny Princess is a delightful blend of British farce and romantic comedy. Yolande Donlon once again plays a role that Marilyn Monroe would have been cast in if the film had been made this side of the pond. Dirk Bogarde was well cast in the part which was at the beginning of his career as a romantic heart throb, way before anyone but him suspected he had the acting chops he had.
This film was sadly shown at three o'clock in the morning on TCM. But at least I found a reason to be grateful for insomnia.
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