When Grandduke Charles, the prince-regent of Carpathia, a fictitious Balkan country which could start a European war by switching alliances, visits London for the coronation of the new ... See full summary »
When Grandduke Charles, the prince-regent of Carpathia, a fictitious Balkan country which could start a European war by switching alliances, visits London for the coronation of the new British King in 1911, and spends his one evening off at the Coconut Girl Club, the reputed stickler for protocol is so charmed by a clumsy American understudy that he orders his British attaché to invite her to the embassy for a private supper. Being overlooked and understanding German, she learns of the repressive attitude of the regent and the plans of his reformist, pro-German minor son, King Nicholas, to take over power by surprise, but doesn't dodge and tries to reconcile father and son. The queen-dowager decides to make her lady-in-waiting for the coronation day, so she stays in the picture to everyone else's surprise. Written by
Olivier and Monroe...an unlikely combination, it would seem. Yet Olivier's blustering pomposity and Monroe's giddy naivete create a surprising chemistry. Sir Lawrence is ever the blue-blood in this well conceived comedy, the tale of a lovely, bubbly young American showgirl who is invited to spend the evening with the smitten Prince.
Monroe is absolutely wonderful--her performance is well thought out and very strong, using every ounce of her famed comedic skill . And she's beautiful as always...even in a pristine white, elegantly beaded evening gown she fairly radiates sensuality.
What truly holds the film together, though, are the outstanding performances by Richard Wattis (the unerringly English, ever mindful Majordomo Northbrook) and Sybil Thorndike (the Grand Duke's hilariously incomprehensible mother-in-law the Queen Dowager).
The movie is well filmed and well paced, with the exception of the coronation ceremony segment which could have been edited considerably. Overall, the story is a winner... a very charming tribute to the virtues of persistence! We learn that our Prince isn't nearly so cold and conniving as he'd like us to believe, and Miss Elsie Marina isn't nearly the wide-eyed ingenue we thought she was...
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