June, 1911. Among the dignitaries from the Balkan State of Carpathia in London for the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary is the Regent, His Serene Highness the Grand Duke Charles. The London foreign office places great importance on Carpathia because of an unstable geopolitical situation with Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany set to overthrow its monarchy government if allowed. The Regent, a Prince originally from Hungary, and the most recent and now deceased Queen married for convenience. As such, the Regent has spent time with a series of lady friends while on his travels in his somewhat "free" state. In meeting one of those London women, music hall actress Maisie Springfield, and the company of her current production "The Coconut Girl", the Regent instead has his eyes set on one of the minor players in the show, American actress Elsie Marina. When seemingly simpleminded Elsie receives a party invitation from the Regent for that evening, Elsie is not so simpleminded to understand ...Written by
In the opening scene inside the Carpathian embassy, the 2 men stand at the window as the royal carriage carrying the King and Dowager passes. The carriage doesn't just move past the window, it rolls along; it and the avenue trees traverse past the open window, as if the men are standing still and the rest of the outside world is parading magically past the window opening. V. strange editing. See more »
Charles, the Prince Regent:
It is love that I need! The ennobling love of a pure young woman. Her bright faith in me as I am and as I might yet be. Her... self-sacrifice to my little weaknesses and desires. For love is sacrifice, is it not? Ys. There is the mystic kiss which might bring this sleeping prince to life.
I got you!
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The British Grenadiers
Arranged by Cecil H. Jaeger See more »
The showgirl outshines the prince
Laurence Olivier is famous for being a great actor. Marilyn Monroe is famous for being Marilyn Monroe. But Monroe had some acting chops too and she shows them off to good effect in The Prince and the Showgirl. While Olivier turns in an oddly wooden, unnatural performance Monroe shines. OK, maybe playing a sexy showgirl wasn't a great stretch for her. But she does so well with the role, a role which required her to be more than just a sex object. Her character, Elsie, has to show some smarts too as she keeps up with the film's political machinations. Of course the political stuff is just a sideshow. The main attraction here is watching the showgirl sweep the stuffy prince off his feet without even really trying.
The story unfolds in London in 1911 with dignitaries having arrived for the royal coronation. Olivier plays the Prince Regent of a fictional Eastern European nation. He rules until his son comes of age and takes the throne. His son may not want to wait, plotting with the Germans to overthrow dear old Dad. The British government is anxious to curry favor with the father, who sides with them rather than the Germans. While he is in London the prince's every whim will be catered to, he gets whatever he wants. And what he wants, after a quick backstage theater visit, is a one night stand with Elsie. She is invited to the embassy for what she believes to be a party but she's the only one attending this "party" with the prince. She's been brought there for one reason. But Elsie will have none of it, rebuffing the prince's clumsy pass. The night goes on, she starts to fall for him a bit...but then the prince's plan to get her drunk backfires as she passes out. When she wakes in the morning all heck will be breaking loose.
The following day, coronation day, is a whirlwind of activity. Elsie finds herself caught up in things way beyond the realm of a simple showgirl. But she more than holds her own. Can she repair the relationship between father and son, perhaps preventing a revolution, maybe even stopping a world war? And, more to the point since this is meant to be a romantic film, can she get the prince to fall in love with her? The movie never really sizzles. Monroe is more than game but Olivier comes across as a bit of a cold fish. The chemistry between the pair never entirely convinces. The story moves rather slowly. At times the story doesn't really move at all and it never quite manages to hit the emotional heights. But somehow the movie still manages to be reasonably entertaining. By sheer force of personality Monroe makes the film work. She charms you, makes you love her and, when it's called for, she definitely makes you laugh. Monroe spices up what otherwise could have been a very drab movie. She may not be royalty but the showgirl is undoubtedly the star which allows this movie to shine.
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