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
Surprisingly good chemistry between Olivier and Monroe...
Considering that all of the backstage talk on the making of 'The Prince and the Showgirl' tells us that a huge rift developed between Oliver and Monroe, their chemistry in this charming comedy is incredible and very apparent. Oliver has his stuffiest role since 'Pride and Prejudice' and does a standout job. Their would-be seduction scene early on, where a tipsy Monroe confronts him with a show of confidence amidst her giggles, is a highlight of the film and sets the tone for the kind of banter between them.
Marilyn never looked more elegant than she does here, costumed and coiffed to look incredibly beautiful. The others in the cast are all impressive in their supporting roles but the main drawback is a script that lumbers along, poorly paced and finally going nowhere. At least twenty minutes of footage could have been clipped to make the whole thing more watchable.
But if you enjoy seeing Marilyn play comedy, this is the one for you. Never has she shown such a flair for enjoying herself in a role. One would never suspect that rumors of unprofessional behavior and disputes with Oliver were even remotely true. The finished product has a glossy, elegant and thoroughly professional look--and as I said before, the only drawback is the script itself and a story too slight to make it totally absorbing. But Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe are both excellent--and, surprisingly, Monroe even upstages him more than once.
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