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The Princess From Brooklyn
bkoganbing29 March 2007
Carole Lombard and Alison Skipworth are masquerading as a Swedish princess and her lady in waiting who are sailing to Hollywood to make a film. This is a bit of self ballyhoo that chorus girl Lombard from Brooklyn is giving for her film debut. Still band leader Fred MacMurray is intrigued by her.

Of course slimy blackmailer Porter Hall tries a little touch on both MacMurray and Lombard, MacMurray having done a stretch in jail as a juvenile. Later when Hall winds up murdered in Lombard's cabin, MacMurray moves the body and searches for the real killer. His only clue is that Hall had told him he had a third blackmail prospect on board the ship.

Easier said than done because also sailing on the ship are five police detectives from different countries on the way to a convention in California. When Hall's body does turn up, they all want to have a little competition as to who can crack the case first.

Sounds like a serious plot, but in fact it's a pretty breezy comedy with MacMurray and Lombard at their sophisticated best. One thing that was fascinating in the plot was that Mischa Auer and Sig Ruman being from the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany are playing detectives from the NKVD and the Gestapo respectively though that's hardly mentioned. Both are without their usual methods of investigation on the American cruise ship as is Tetsuro Komei for the Japanese. British Scotland Yard man Lumsden Hare and Surete detective Douglass Dumbrille round out our quintet of sleuths.

Best in the supporting cast is Hall as the blackmailer though. Also good is George Barbier as the ship's captain and William Frawley who a quarter of a century later would co-star with Fred MacMurray in My Three Sons is MacMurray's agent.

This was the second of four films MacMurray and Lombard did for Paramount in the Thirties. They were a good team together and don't get as much recognition as they should.

Despite the Thirties fashions and music, the film holds up very well today. It's Carole Lombard at her best.
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Nifty little comedy thriller
theowinthrop6 October 2005
Somehow, when thinking of movie couples in the golden age of film, Carole Lombard's partnership with Fred MacMurray gets overlooked. Not as glamorous as Tracy and Hepburn, Hepburn and Grant, Grant and Dunne, Eddy and MacDonald, MacDonald and Chevalier, Bogart and Bacall, it still got tremendous mileage in comedies (HANDS ACROSS THE TABLE, TRUE CONFESSIONS), comic thrillers (THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS), and straight drama (SWING HIGH, SWING LOW). Lombard had the ability to make the film's activities soar by her zaniness. MacMurray managed to anchor the film down by his normality (and in TRUE CONFESSIONS uses this normality against itself - by taking himself too seriously).

THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS made fun of thrillers (although the dangers involved are not made funny), and of the culture of publicity that the public thrives on. Lombard has the looks and talents to make it in movies, but nobody cares. With the help of Alison Skipworth she pretends she is Princess Olga of Sweden and she wants to act in movies. Besides the spoofing of Garbo, Lombard is counting on the vast publicity from the media to get her the million dollar contract she wants. Oddly enough, the Swedish royal family does not seem to care that a fraud is being perpetrated by Lombard and Skipworth at their expense. But we have to make some concession to the plot.

MacMurray is a well known musician (a concertina player of all things) and orchestra leader. He and his manager pal, William Frawley, are on the boat as well, and MacMurray is very interested in the beautiful, but snobbish Princess. However, he has another problem. MacMurray is an honest fellow, but he did one bad thing, and he is being pursued by an obnoxious little weasel (played superbly by Porter Hall) who is waiting for a big payoff from the musician. He also seems to know the truth about the Princess. MacMurray refuses to pay, and Hall promises him some problems. The ship has several internationally known detectives on board (among them are Mischa Auer, Sig Ruman, and Douglas Dumbrille), and Hall sees one of the detectives and we see him approach to talk to him. Shortly afterward Hall is found murdered. On top of this, there is word (sent to the ship) that an escaped murderer is thought to be aboard (shades of Dr. Crippen), and we do see a strange little stowaway from time to time.

The film goes on to a second murder, a set of different rival detectives trying to solve the case, and MacMurray deciding to step in to clear himself and the Princess. The conclusion is quiet satisfactory.

With it's cast of expert character actors supporting MacMurray and Lombard's performances, and the clever script, THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS is a first rate comic thriller. I rate it 9 out of 10.
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A case of life imitating art--and most enjoyable.
planktonrules1 April 2010
The plot of this movie seems rather crazy. After all, Carole Lombard plays an American who can't get a job in Hollywood, so she pretends to be a Swedish princess (sort of like a royal version of Garbo) and is adored--and offered a film contract. Now you'd think this is a totally ridiculous idea, but in real life just a year later, Samuel Goldwyn introduced a Norwegian sensation--Sigrid Gurie. Unfortunately, when it was found out that Gurie was born in Brooklyn (exactly like Lombard's character), it didn't exactly help her film career! Now you'd think that having Lombard playing a rather broad Garbo impersonation would be silly, but because she was such a likable actress and it's such a cute film, they manage to carry it off well.

The film begins with Lombard coming aboard an ocean liner with a lot of hubbub from the press--after all, they think a princess is on her way to America. Once aboard, band leader Fred MacMurray falls for her and pursues her. However, unexpectedly, the comedy becomes a murder mystery--and both MacMurray and Lombard are suspects. However, MacMurray also knows that she was the victim of a blackmailer who was just murdered--and he knows she has something to hide. There's much more to the film than this, but you can just see it yourself--it's worth it.

Overall, the film works well because the writing is very good and the actors have nice supporting character actors on hand--such as William Frawley, Douglas Dumbrille and Sig Ruman. Plus, the ever slimy Porter Hall made for a great blackmailer. Clever and most enjoyable from start to finish.

Oh, and I must point out that this film allows the viewer to hear MacMurray Crooning! His voice, though a tad weak, was actually far better than I expected and was rather reminiscent of the singing of Dick Powell.
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Lombard does Garbo!
David-24026 July 2001
The main reason to see this fun, if slowly paced, comedy-mystery is to see a glowing Carole Lombard do an hilarious impersonation of Greta Garbo. She plays an American actress pretending to be a Swedish princess - and Carole has a ball sending up Garbo in the process. Also great to get a glimpse of pre-WW2 politics, with the detectives on board coming from all over the globe - including Germany, Russia and Japan. Great fun. What a shame we don't all travel by boat still!
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Lombard and MacMurray make a great team
kartrabo20 April 2000
Combining the elements of a great screwball comedy with a murder mystery,Paramount again cast the great team of Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray.Carole a down-on-her-luck publicity hungry actress enlists the aid of wise-cracking hefty Alison Skipworth and together they sail aboard a luxury liner en route to America.Lombard pretending to a Swedish princess befriends Fred MacMurray and pal William Frawley and all four form an uneasy alliance.Matters become complicated when Carole is suspected of murdering a blackmailer who knew her in Brooklyn.A pack of zany international detectives attempt to solve the crime in their bumbling fashion while MacMurray tries to find the murderer before he strikes again. This fine little comedy is ably directed William K. Howard with a wonderful supporting cast led by George Barbier(ship captain) suspects Porter Hall,Douglas Dumbrille,and egocentric detectives Sig Rumann,Mischa Auer,and Tetsu Komai.Surefire fun.
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Murder, romance and comedy on an enjoyable voyage
TheLittleSongbird14 August 2018
Comedy, romance and murder mysteries are great on their own. Those three elements together seemed even more appetising and there have been numerous instances where it has worked. The story sounded so great on paper and the cast is a talented one, do like Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray and the two worked very well together in their too few appearances.

This is evident in 'The Princess Comes Across', which is a very good representation of both and of their partnership. It is also a very good, if not quite great, film in its own right, what could have been a basic whodunit is elevated to a greater level by the cast, the clever writing and how the elements are balanced well. The mystery is not exactly a complicated one, but it is wholly diverting and it was a good idea to have enough to keep one guessing without trying to over-complicate.

By all means, 'The Princess Comes Across' is not without faults. For me, at just an hour and a quarter it was a little too short. Would have given it 10 minutes more perhaps.

With a slightly longer length, it would have made the more serious second half less hasty, don't get me wrong there is a lot to enjoy about the second half it just felt a bit rushed at times and the tonal shifts don't always gel and create a disjoint.

However, there is a huge amount to enjoy about 'The Princess Comes Across'. It is especially worth seeing for a wonderful Carole Lombard, exuding glamour and enjoying herself to the hilt, her trademark zaniness and delicacy perfectly captured. Fred MacMurray may not be at his very best, but he is dashing and has amiable comic timing. The supporting cast are all solid, with the best turns coming from a deliciously sardonic Mischa Auer, Porter Hall playing a weasel to perfection and especially a delightful Alison Skipworth relishing some of the film's best lines. They are all efficiently directed and have believable chemistry, Lombard and MacMurray do sparkle together.

It's a visually beautiful film too, it's sumptuously shot with beautiful costumes and the camera clearly loves Lombard. The script is witty and sophisticated in the comedic elements of the first half, which is the better half and the element where 'The Princess Comes Across' scores highest. The romantic element works a charm and for me the mystery was diverting and not too simple or complicated, reservations with it are with it being taken a little too seriously in the second half. The music is like its own character and adds hugely to the film.

Concluding, well worth seeing with Lombard being the biggest attraction. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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Comedy, con, romance, music and mystery on the high seas
SimonJack7 November 2014
This second pairing of Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray packs a lot into 76 minutes. In this, they share time with a handful of famous detectives from around the world who are on board the same ship looking for an escaped killer. The mystery aspect fits in nicely with the otherwise romantic comedy of Lombard and MacMurray. And, other supporting players contribute as well - Alison Skipworth, Porter Hall and George Barbier.

"The Princess Comes Across" is a mixed genre of comedy, a con caper, murder mystery, and romance, with a good dose of music as well. It's almost too much to pack into 76 minutes and expect a film to be outstanding or exceptional, but this superb cast pulls it off nicely for a very good comedy.

Lombard assumes a Greta Garbo role with her Swedish-English accent, playing a fake Princess Olga. And, MacMurray, as King Mantell, uses some of his musical talent singing with a concertina and his band. Much of the humor comes from their sidekicks. Skipworth plays Lady Gertrude, companion of the princess, and William Frawley is Mantell's cohort, Benton.

But, there's crime aboard this ship that's sailing from France to America. And the stars share screen time with a band of international detectives. Those sleuths and other lesser roles are played very well by some of the leading supporting actors of the era. Sig Ruman, Mischa Auer, and others add their own twists of humor as the egotistical "world's greatest detective" that each one considers himself to be.

This film just doesn't have as much snappy dialog, witty script and clever zingers that other films have. But the plot is good and the mystery adds a twist to the usual script of comedy-romance and music for such films of the 1930s. Both stars are exceptionally adept at truly great comedy, and they show some of the range of their acting talents here. Lombard's impersonation as a "Svedish" princess is a hoot and her lines and actions are riotously funny.

Here are some favorite lines from the film. For more dialog, see the Quotes section under this IMDb Web page of the movie.

Chief Purser (Edward Keane), "There are five important police officials aboard, sir." Captain, "Police?" Chief Purser, "They're sailing for an international convention of detectives in New York. Would you like to have them at your table, sir?" Captain, "I don't even want them on my ship. They're troublemakers. Jinxes. I'd rather be followed by a seagull flying upside down. I've seen it happen again and again. Trouble's their business. They love it so much, it follows them around."

Princess Olga, "I'd like to smack that guy in the kisser."

Lady Gertrude, "Now I know he's no good. My dear, I am an old woman. I have traveled at home and abroad. And never, never have I known any good to come out of a concertina."

Princess Olga, "You enjoyed the cocktails, didn't you?" Lady Gertrude, "Oh, the first five or six. After that I was bored."

Benton, "King. I just saw Darcy go into the royal suite." King Mantell, "Yeah? Are you sure it was Darcy?" Benton, "Sure. Rats like that don't come in pairs."

Benton, "Take Terry McGovern. There was a fellow with a left hook. All he had to do was hit you in the chin and break every bone in your ankle."

King Mantell, "If you're ever in any kind of trouble, you can count on me." Princess Olga, "Oh, why do you think I should be in any trouble?" King Mantell, "Oh, I dunno. This is a strange ship, and there are some very odd people aboard." Princess Olga, "Ja, and the oddest of them all is you."

Lady Gertrude, "Thank heaven this day is over. Such a crowd, my dear. I don't mind people stepping on my feet, but I do object to their loitering there."

Lady Gertrude "Oh, my stars and garters."

Benton, "I'm saving this page for your obituary notice. I can see it now. 'King Mantell Gets Himself Bumped Off for a Dame.'"

Princess Olga, "Well, if you really know who the murderer is, why don't you tell them now?" King Mantell, "I would if I knew. The point is I don't." Princess Olga, "Then why did you say you did?" King Mantell, "Because to catch a rat you have to have cheese." Princess Olga, "I don't get it." King Mantell, "I'm the cheese. When the rat comes to nibble, bang goes the trap." Princess Olga, "With the cheese in it." King Mantell, "Not if it's a smart piece of cheese."

Benton, "I'll stick around, all right, but I ain't no Charlie Chan. When I'm picking that guy's sewing kit out of your back, don't say I didn't tell you, that's all."

Benton, "I don't know why you want to trade your concertina for a harp."
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THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS (William K. Howard, 1936) ***
Bunuel197621 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is a delightful blend of zany comedy and murder mystery, almost completely set aboard ship and featuring a most excellent cast, though perhaps not quite a classic – mainly because the thriller element lacks the touch of sophistication associated with THE THIN MAN (1934), which was the prototype of this style at the time.

Carole Lombard and Alison Skipworth are unemployed New York actors posing as Swedish royalty to attract a film contract (hence the title – with the star supplying a delicious parody of Greta Garbo); Fred MacMurray and William Frawley are a concertina player and his manager, respectively; George Barbier is the ship's captain; Porter Hall is a slimy blackmailer who preys on three of the ship's passengers (the fraudulent Lombard, MacMurray – with a spell in jail behind him – and another who's a murderer impersonating a missing passenger – though the stranger seen prowling about intermittently is eventually revealed as a red herring); conveniently on board is an international convention of detectives comprising Douglass Dumbrille (French), Sig Rumann (German), Mischa Auer (Russian), Lumsden Hare (British) and Tetsu Komai (Japanese).

When Hall turns up dead (the shadowy lighting in this scene, courtesy of cinematographer Ted Tetzlaff, is actually rather striking) and a passenger list in his pocket bears a mark near Lombard and MacMurray's names, naturally they arouse the detectives' suspicion – despite Barbier's attempts to keep the Princess out of such indiscretions. Typically, MacMurray and Frawley carry out their own sleuthing – though Rumann is actually the first to get to the truth, but doesn't live long enough to reveal the identity of the killer to his associates! So, in an effort to distract the murderer's attention off Lombard, MacMurray – who, naturally, has fallen for the leading lady (even after he becomes aware of her less-than-regal/foreign-origins) – declares that he has solved the case, fully expecting a rendezvous with the guilty party but counting on pal Frawley to bail him out at the last minute.

There are plenty of amusing situations throughout (notably the scene in which Frawley is derided by fellow passengers for wearing a French painter's cap) and witty repartee (particularly as delivered by Skipworth and Auer), but also some genuine tension at the climax (even if the final unmasking of the villain hardly proves a surprise) – not to mention a musical number from MacMurray!
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Routine Comedy/Mystery Made Watchable by an Excellent Cast
HarlowMGM27 September 2011
THE PRINCESS COMES ALONG is a comedy/mystery that unfortunately splits itself in the middle rather than being a mix of both genres throughout the film. It stars Carole Lombard as a girl from Brooklyn who while in England somehow manages to persuade film producers that she is a Princess Olga of Sweden, is signed to a contract and on her way to America to make movies. The movie opens with the excited passengers and press eager to see the Princess board the ship (just how this ruse is successfully pulled off strains credibility, Sweden, after all is a major nation, and surely any allegations that a Princess was going to enter pictures would have quickly been denied and disproved).

Fred MacMurray is a popular bandleader who is also on board and takes a shine to the Princess, attempting to romance her. She is indifferent but when a blackmailer is found dead in her room she becomes warmer to MacMurray's offer of friendship as he and buddy William Frawley remove the body. That still means a murder is loose on board and there's more mayhem in the works before the killer is revealed.

This movie starts out an engaging 1930's romantic comedy with Lombard deliciously parodying Garbo as the faux Royal Highness. Alas, the movie literally turns deadly after the murder and it's pretty much a straightforward murder mystery with a surprise that isn't much of a surprise if you've seen movies of this nature. Nevertheless, the cast does very well with the material, particularly the young Fred MacMurray, quite dashing in his late twenties, and the delicious character actress Alison Skipworth, here cast as the Princess' haughty traveling companion but in truth another unemployed actress and of course the always great Lombard. Months after their triumph in MY MAN GODFREY, Lombard is reunited with Mischa Auer with the latter in a small role as the Russian detective, one of several international detectives who just so happen to be all traveling on board. THE PRINCESS COMES ALONG is not one of the better Lombard films but it's a pleasant 90 minutes and worth at least one viewing.
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Diverse elements don't quite jell
Igenlode Wordsmith29 July 2005
'The Princess Comes Across' was billed as 'a curious blend of comedy, murder-mystery, romance and music'; the 'curious' is certainly without question, but the degree to which the mix blends is, I feel, open to some doubt.

On the whole this is mainly satisfactory from the comedy angle. The sole musical element consists of casting our hero, played by Fred McMurray, as a concertina-player, a choice of instrument guaranteed to provide humour by its plebeian contrast to royalty. McMurray also sings a spoof ode to his concertina at the obligatory onboard musical evening that gathers all the murder suspects together -- save one! -- to stage the climax to the mystery plot. Unfortunately the solution to the latter turns out to be extremely lame, the plot line having been again almost totally subjugated to the need for laughs, and chiefly providing an excuse for the introduction of four stereotyped comedy detectives -- the dapper Frenchman, the pompous Prussian, the pipe-smoking Englishman and the devious Russian -- and an opportunity to implicate Carole Lombard's Swedish princess.

Lombard's haughty impression of the princess who just wants to be left alone is the main selling-point of the film, and the difficulties this role places in the way of romance with her cocky concertina artiste, 'King' Mantell, provide most of the rest of the comedy. Filmed through a gauzy lens, she has perhaps never been more beautiful, and the script handles her predicament with sympathy, but this one gimmick isn't quite enough in the end to carry off the rest of this mish-mash of a film.

Ultimately I felt that it strains at too many different goals and falls short of most of them: its worst actual defect is the hand-waving denouement to the detective plot, which is of a nature to embarrass Agatha Christie at her most contrived, but the climax to the romance also somehow struck me as arbitrary and unsatisfactory, given how hard her character has defended her increasingly impossible situation throughout the rest of the film. Again, I get the feeling that the plot demands of the comic and romantic set-up respectively are pulling in conflicting directions rather than forming a happy blend.

Not a long-lost classic, but a curiosity, perhaps; worth seeing for Lombard's title performance, but ultimately less than a harmonious whole.
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Well-balanced mixture of mystery and comedy
gridoon202314 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
What do you get when you mix together a phony princess, a professional concertina player, five illustrious detectives of five different nationalities, a slimy blackmailer, an escaped murderer, and other oddball characters, and you set them off on a transatlantic trip from France to the USA? You get the enjoyable, if slightly stagy, "The Princess Comes Across". Carole Lombard gives an accomplished comedic performance - in fact, the entire cast is terrific. But what I most appreciated about this film is that the mystery, and it's a solid one, is played straight and is not overwhelmed by the comedy; the director even makes the interesting choice of completely avoiding the use of any kind of music score during some of the tenser moments. A nice diversion. **1/2 out of 4.
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A Royal Cruise
lugonian4 September 2016
THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS (Paramount, 1936), directed by William K. Howard, based on story by Philip MacDonald and adapted from novel by Louis Lucien Rogger, reunites Carole Lombard with Fred MacMurray in a worthy second offering following their initial screen pairing of HANDS ACROSS THE TABLE (1935). With shipboard stories quite a common course in movie theaters at that time, the narrative takes place mostly on board an ocean liner involving various characters, particularly its star attraction played by Carole Lombard. Talking like and attempting in various ways to imitate the famous Swedish born actress, Greta Garbo, Lombard doesn't do a Queen Christina but the guise of a fictional royal Swedish princess coming to America.

The plot begins in on deck in England as Captain Nicholls (George Barbier) of the transatlantic ocean liner, the S.S. Mammoth, awaits the arrival of her royal Princess Olga (Carole Lombard) of Sweden, accompanied by her lady-in-waiting, Gertrude Allwyn (Alison Skipworth), and soon greeted by newspaper reporters regarding her venture to Hollywood where she's set to star in a movie, "She Done Him Plenty." Before the ship sets sail across the Atlantic to New York City, the princess is escorted to her royal suite where she finds it occupied by bandleader, King Mantell (Fred MacMurray), and his assistant, Benton (William Frawley). At first, King refuses to give up the suite he had earlier reserved, but after one look at the princess convinces him to settle for a cabin instead. As concertina player Mantell becomes better acquainted with the princess, Captain Nicholls, in a meeting with the international police consisting of Inspector Cragg (Lumsden Hare) of Scotland Yard; Inspector Paul Lorel (Douglass Dumbrille) of France; Morevitch (Mischa Auer) of the Russian Police; Kawati (Tetsu Komai) of the Japanese Secret Service; and Steindorf (Sig Rumann) from Germany, he comes to learn that Paul Merkel, a killer and escaped convict from Devil's Island Prison, is believed to have stowed away and now hiding anywhere on board his ship. As a mysterious but slightly bearded stranger (Bradley Page) in trench coat comes sneaking about the unattended cabins and hiding around secluded places by night, Robert N. Darcy (Porter Hall), a noted blackmailer and confidence man, knowing the secretive past of both Mantell and the princess (Wanda Nash of Brooklyn), he threatens to expose them unless he gets paid off. Later Darcy is found dead inside the princess's royal suite.

As THE PRINCESS COME ACROSS starts off as a masquerade sort of comedy, the second half changes knots in mid ocean to murder mystery. Towards the near end of the story, MacMurray takes time singing the lyrics to the film's frequent underscoring to "My Concertina" as composed by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel, as he performs during the ship's entertainment dinner party that earlier consisted briefly of a young tap dancing sailor on stage.

A brisk 76 minute production, THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS is entertaining enough through the Lombard and MacMurray exchanges, but becomes more interesting wondering the identity of the killer on the loose on board ship and the method King Mantel does to expose the guilty party. William Frawley ads some moments of humor as one who lifts personal articles so to learn more about the person's identity, especially the princess, as well as gathering enough attention from passengers and a blinking cabin boy (Bennie Bartlett) while walking about with his beret. Alison Skipworth, nearly unrecognizable in her blonde wig, in fine support of the princess's companion. Film buffs will recognize some familiar faces in brief bits, including George Chandler (The Newsman); Dick Elliott and Milburn Stone.

Not as remembered as Lombard's other film roles as TWENTIETH CENTURY (1934) or MY MAN GODFREY (1936), the nearly forgotten THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS used to be one of Lombard's most televised movies, especially in the early 1970s, with four broadcasts in 1972 alone on New York City's WPIX, Channel 11, before being phased out from that station by 1973, where some years later was found to be broadcasting on other network and public television channels in the Metropolitan area. In later years, THE PRINCESS COME ACROSS became available to video cassette and later DVD, as well as cable television showings on American Movie Classics (1993-1994) and Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere: August 17, 2006). A capable cast and tight-knit story should continue to keep THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS afloat. (***)
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A trans-Atlantic fun-fest.
mark.waltz23 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The delightful Carole Lombard was at her comic height in 1936, whether playing the dizzy heiress of "My Man Godfrey", the frazzled socialite of "Love Before Breakfast", or the phony Swedish princess in this, a delightful screwball comedy set on an ocean liner that literally is murder. She spoofs the legendary Garbo here, giving a delightful Swedish accent that is comical yet not ridiculing. The fun starts on her trip when she finds concertina player Fred MacMurray inside her state room, and from there comes blackmail, a few murders, romance and the comedy of several people pretending to be who they are not. Lombard and MacMurray are surrounded by a top-notch supporting cast including the imperious Allison Skipworth as Lombard's dowager like companion (reminding me of the late Marie Dressler), William Frawley as MacMurray's crotchety pal (hysterical in a scene wearing a beret which looks like a bad toupee), Mischa Auer, Lumsden Hare, Sig Ruman and Douglas Dumbrille as a group of European detectives conveniently aboard to get involved in the murder investigation, Bradley Page as a mystery man stalking the detectives, and Porter Hall as the blackmailer.

This fun-filled voyage has a delightfully witty screenplay and everybody involved seems to be having a joyous time. After being rather obnoxious in their previous pairing ("Hands Across the Table"), MacMurray gets to downplay a bit here, and Lombard proves again as to why she was one of the most beloved actresses of the 1930's-she was simply divine, a rare actress under the age of 30 whom everybody could identify with. Her down to earth demeanor is visible through her high-falluting impersonation of the Swedish countess from Brooklyn and it becomes obvious as to why her tragic death in 1942 was mourned by the world.

Two of the screen's great 1930's movie villains (Dumbrille and Page) seem to be playing against type here, but the cleverness of the screenplay is such that not everything is as it seems. It's great to see MacMurray and Frawley together 25 years before they were paired together on "My Three Sons", ironic considering that Frawley's "MTS" replacement William Demarest had appeared with him in "Hands Across the Table". Don't be drinking when Lombard, in Swedish dialect, reveals to the American press the name of her favorite movie star.
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A most entertaining blend of mystery, thrills, romance and comedy!
JohnHowardReid15 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
It's difficult to smoothly blend a suspenseful murder mystery with a light romantic comedy, but ace director William K. Howard achieves the almost impossible and does exactly this in Paramount's expansively produced and beautifully photographed (Ted Tetzlaff) shipboard thriller/romance. The stars, Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray, are both in fine form. They need to be, for they are up against a remarkable array of professional scene stealers including Douglass Dumbrille, Alison Skipworth, Charles Barbier, Porter Hall and Sig Ruman. You'd expect a richly produced, smoothly directed (by William K. Howard), atmospherically photographed (by Ted Tetzlaff), ingratiatingly acted and most entertainingly scripted movie fare like this to receive hurrahs from all the critics, But that was not the case. Frank Nugent of The New York Times even gave the movie a negative review. In my opinion, the movie is a most entertaining blend of romance, thrills, mystery and comedy. Alas, it was during the filming of The Princess Comes Across that Howard unwittingly set the stage for his later rebuff by the Hollywood hierarchy when he ordered the movie's production supervisor off the set for too much interference.
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Lombard's Princess Meets MacMurray's King
dglink14 April 2021
Short, tidy, and engrossing, "The Princess Comes Across" is an entertaining murder-mystery-comedy set aboard an ocean liner crossing from Le Havre to New York. The ship sails with an escaped murderer, a faux Swedish princess, a blackmailer, a Japanese detective, and a band leader with a past aboard. The second of four films co-starring Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray, this fast-paced whodunnit was well directed by William K. Howard, a veteran of silent films, from a screenplay attributed to at least six writers; fortunately, the over abundance of cooks did not spoil the broth this time out.

Lombard is a delight throughout and does her best Greta Garbo impersonation as the Swedish Princess Olga, who is en route to Hollywood to make a movie. Displaying a fine singing voice, MacMurray is the concertina-playing band leader, King Martell, whose path crosses that of the Princess with predictable results. Both the Princess and the King play off amusing sidekicks; Allison Skipworth as Lady Gertrude is the Princess's snooty companion, while William Frawley plays Martell's cynical aide. A cohort of further fine support is provided by veterans Sig Ruman, Porter Hall, Mischa Auer, and Douglas Dumbrille.

While the plot has plenty of holes, director Howard keeps the proceedings brisk, and obvious deceptions and red herrings slip past. Lombard and MacMurray worked well together, and this vehicle was among their best pairings. While the plot will hold viewers' attention, the outstanding cast is the film's prime asset. "The Princess Comes Across" is a little gem well worth seeking out and is essential viewing for Lombard fans in particular.
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Murder, Mayhem, and a Princess!
Sylviastel17 January 2012
Carole Lombard reunites with Fred McMurray. Here she plays Swedish Princess Olga from Europe to America with her lady in waiting Gertrude Alwyn (played by the marvelous Alison Skipworth). Aboard the ship, she is reunited with Fred McMurray's character King Mantell who runs a band and plays a concertina. His sidekick is played by William Frawley. It's interesting to note that McMurray and Frawley would work together years later on "My Three Sons." Anyway, everybody has their secrets especially the Princess. Aboard the ship, there is an unsolved murder to be solved before they land in New York City. Anyway, it's an entertaining comedy and drama. I loved the chemistry between McMurray and Lombard. I also adore Alison Skipworth, a character actress, who is wonderful as the Princess's Lady in Waiting.
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One of Carole Lombard's best films
spotted-owl3 October 2014
"The Princess Comes Across" (1936) is one of Carole Lombard's best films. Lombard gives a brilliant impersonation of Greta Garbo. (Princess Olga's character is based on Swedish actress Greta Garbo, who obtained a Hollywood contract and sailed to America.) Lombard looks like Garbo with her sleek hairstyle, curved eyebrows, eyeliner, and mysterious expression. She also emulates Garbo's languid movements, expressive hand gestures, and deep voice with the Swedish accent. Her fashions are in Garbo's style, with fur coats, capes, and a slouch hat.

Lombard plays Wanda Nash, a Brooklyn showgirl trying to break into movies by pretending to be the Swedish Princess Olga. This comedy is based on movie casting trends at that time. With the great successes of European movie stars such as Garbo and Dietrich, Hollywood movie studios were seeking sophisticated European actors and actresses for films. A book claimed British actress Elissa Landi was the granddaughter of an Empress, and she appeared in her first Hollywood film in 1931. (See my posting on the message board for more about Elissa Landi.)

It is delightful to see Lombard smoothly transition between her formal Garbo persona, and her lively American personality.

Fred MacMurray is handsome and cocky as the American bandleader and concertina musician "King" Mantell who falls for the faux princess. MacMurray and Lombard have great chemistry.

The movie combines zany romantic comedy with a murder mystery. There is an international team of detectives who are seeking a notorious murderer hiding on the ship.

The sets and costumes are lavish. The suites and ballroom in the ship are Art Deco style, with murals. Lombard's costumes are gorgeous. The cinematography is excellent. The crime part of the film has noirish shadows on the walls, slatted window shades, and foggy night scenes.

This is a great film, with zany romantic comedy, murder mystery, witty dialog, and lavish sets and costumes. The best part is Lombard's superb impersonation of Garbo. Highly recommended.
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Funny Garbo impersonation
HotToastyRag21 August 2020
In this zany comedy, Carole Lombard poses as a Swedish princess in order to get first-class treatment on a cruise ship on the way to her new life. Her hilarious Greta Garbo impression is spot-on. If you close your eyes, you might not know the difference!

Fred MacMurray is an accordion player on board who falls for her, and his sidekick William Frawley soon finds out she's not who she seems. When Porter Hall starts blackmailing Carole to keep her secret, they're in for some trouble. Mostly, it's a way to laugh at Greta Garbo and see Carole and Fred together again. They made four movies and had great chemistry on the screen. You'll also get to hear Fred's beautiful singing voice he didn't often get to show off!
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Lombard comes across
jarrodmcdonald-126 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Carole Lombard comes across as a riot in this picture, one of four movies she made with Fred MacMurray at Paramount in the 1930s. This time around she plays a character impersonating Scandinavian royalty. She gets some wonderful help from Alison Skipworth, one of the studio's go-to character actresses.

Although it seems to be of little consequence, there is a murder mystery involving the characters. (They seem too preoccupied with their own dramas to take it seriously.) As the action unfolds, Mr. MacMurray gets the chance to use a concertina which appears throughout the story. It's nice to see him show off some of his musical abilities.

William Frawley, who later costarred with MacMurray on the television program 'My Three Sons' is also aboard for the fun. And fun it sure is! However, it is a bit difficult to tell whether the film is a cheeky spoof, or if Lombard is seriously paying respects to Greta Garbo, an actress that inspires her. Maybe both.
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such nice movie
sododalmasri2 December 2021
It's great to watch old movies at a time like this, Hollywood had a special charm in its golden age.

Fred And Carole were one of the most popular couples at the time.

I've always liked Carol. I think she's such a wonderful combination of beauty, intelligence, and a sense of humor. She was a great loss to art.
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