Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Prince and the Showgirl

It is 1911 and London is excitedly preparing for the coronation of King George V. Among the many dignitaries that will be present at the ceremony is Grandduke Chrales, prince-regent of Carphathia, and his son who is poised to take over the throne in a matter of weeks. Considering the German allegiance of the would be heir, this poses a serious problem for the Brits who find it in their interest to keep the Grandduke happy. While entertaining him at a local play, he catches the eye of a chorus girl and the two begin an awkward and humorous dalliance. "The Prince and the Showgirl" is light and entertaining fare that was made at the peak of the careers of both its stars. Marilyn Monroe lights up the screen in her inimitable way and Laurence Olivier, who also directed, is a lot of fun playing the uptight, Transylvania-accented duke. I watched this as a curiosity for the just released "My Week with Marilyn", which is set during the filming of this movie, and it proved to be more than that. In addition to a light comedy, the film shows the two top draws from America and Britain at the time, and the wonderful onscreen chemistry the two held.