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The King Without a Crown (1937)

Explores the possibility that Louis XVII, son of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, escaped death during the French Revolution and were raised by Indians in America.





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Complete credited cast:
Carey Wilson ...
Himself - Narrator (voice)


The execution of Louis XVI of France would rightfully lead to Louis XVII becoming the next king. Only then a child, he and his mother Marie Antoinette, among other members of their surviving family, were imprisoned as France was going through revolution leading to it becoming a republic. Officially, Louis XVII died in prison a child. However, over half a century later, a native American Christian missionary named Eleazar Williams wrote in his diary that he learned that he was Louis XVII. Although he himself had no interest in the throne, he refused to sign a declaration of giving up the throne if only to protect that heritage for his own progeny if they ever decided to pursue such. Theory was that French monarchists were able to free the child Louis XVII from prison, and whisk him away to safety in America, on the premise of restoring him to the throne at the appropriate time, which never occurred. Records show that Williams, in his later years, did meet with then who was the Prince ... Written by Huggo

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Plot Keywords:

mgm historical mystery | See All (1) »


Short | History | Mystery





Release Date:

9 October 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

An Historical Mystery #1: The King Without a Crown  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Scotty Beckett later played Louis-Charles, Dauphin of France (the titular King Louis XVII) in Marie Antoinette (1938). See more »

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User Reviews

Historical Mysteries
28 October 2009 | by See all my reviews

King Without a Crown, The (1937)

*** (out of 4)

Another nice entry in MGM's "Historical Mysteries" series with Carey Wilson doing the narration and Tourneur behind the camera. This time out we hear the mystery surrounding the true identity of a preacher from Wisconsin who claimed to have been the lost Dauphin and perhaps should have been the King of France. The story goes back to Louis XVI and whether or not he died as a child or was snuck out of the prison he was in, taken to America and left there until he could go back to France and claim his crown. This series is one of my favorites and this here is yet another example of why the conspiracy theorist in me loves it so much. I hadn't really heard of the mystery here so I found the entire set up to be a rather interesting one. At the same time, I can't comment on how true the story was or where the truth actually lied. I will say that this short does a nice job at giving out the "evidence" surrounding this story and director Tourneur does a good job at bringing it to life. He made another film in this series, THE MAN IN THE BARN, about John Wilkes Booth, which is a lot better and certainly worth searching out but this too is good.

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