Princess Caraboo

( 1 )

Overview

Loosely based on an actual incident, this family-friendly British comedy is also a sly satire of class consciousness. Phoebe Cates stars as a woman who appears in the English countryside of 1817 wearing exotic garb and speaking gibberish. Delivered to a nearby manor, the mystery woman is sheltered by the Worralls Wendy Hughes and Jim Broadbent, who are then persuaded by their suspicious Greek butler Frixos Kevin Kline, Cates' real-life husband to have the drifter tried for vagrancy and begging, capital crimes. At...
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Overview

Loosely based on an actual incident, this family-friendly British comedy is also a sly satire of class consciousness. Phoebe Cates stars as a woman who appears in the English countryside of 1817 wearing exotic garb and speaking gibberish. Delivered to a nearby manor, the mystery woman is sheltered by the Worralls Wendy Hughes and Jim Broadbent, who are then persuaded by their suspicious Greek butler Frixos Kevin Kline, Cates' real-life husband to have the drifter tried for vagrancy and begging, capital crimes. At the hearing, however, the woman persuades the magistrate through pantomime that she is a princess of Javanese origin named Caraboo, escaped from pirate kidnappers. The Worralls welcome Caraboo back into their home, lavishing upon her the deference due a royal. A society sensation, Caraboo wins over a linguist John Lithgow, the prince regent John Session, and even Frixos. Only an Irish reporter, Gutch Stephen Rea, remains skeptical about Caraboo's origins.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Given the surplus of strong actors from both sides of the pond, Princess Caraboo should have made more of an impression than it does. Brits Jim Broadbent and Stephen Rea and Americans Kevin Kline and John Lithgow all loaned their considerable talents, but the result is not much more than a light farce in the vein of something like Mrs. Winterbourne. Instead of mistaken identity, Princess Caraboo deals in unknown identity -- which doesn't make it that much more interesting. Phoebe Cates is fine as the maiden fluent in a language unknown to even the most accomplished linguists, who shows no sign of comprehending the languages they do know. She's sweet but ultimately unknowable, which makes it hard to connect with her. Cates is of rather limited appeal to begin with, and she more or less retired from acting following this performance, leaving the breadwinning to her husband (Kline). Michael Austin's direction of the other performers minimizes their appeal as well. Kline gives one of his earliest unfunny performances that rely on funny accents, and Lithgow and Broadbent overdo their bulging eyeballs and angry snarls, respectively. Only Rea, in the role that comes closest to a hero, stays agreeably within himself. Princess Caraboo clearly wanted to be a thinking person's fairytale -- comical yet dignified, something that would remind viewers of The Princess Bride or a similar flight of fancy. But with a dearth of memorable scenes or characters, Austin's film is tepid and indistinct.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/6/1996
  • UPC: 043396735033
  • Original Release: 1994
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Presentation: Slipsleeve
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Phoebe Cates Princess Caraboo
Jim Broadbent Mr. Worrall
Wendy Hughes Mrs. Worrall
Kevin Kline Frixos
John Lithgow Professor Wilkinson
Stephen Rea Gutch
Peter Eyre Lord Apthorpe
Jacqueline Pearce Lady Apthorpe
John Wells Reverend Hunt
John Lynch Amon McCarthy
John Sessions Prince Regent
Arkie Whiteley Betty
Annabel Brooks Lady Neville
Anna Chancellor Mrs Peake
Rachel Fielding Mrs Benson
David Glover Musician
Jerry Hall Lady Motley
Peter Howell Clerk of the Court
Barbara Keogh Mrs Wilberforce
Steven Mackintosh Harold
Murray Melvin Lord Motley
Roger Lloyd Pack Magistrate Haythorne
Dougray Scott Dragoon Captain
Andrew Seear Mr Peake
David Sibley Harrison
Stromboli
Jacqueline Tong Mrs Hunt
Edward Tudor-Pole Lord Neville
Technical Credits
Michael Austin Director, Screenwriter
Marc Abraham Executive Producer
George Akers Editor
Jonathan Benson Asst. Director
Armyan Bernstein Executive Producer
Simon Bosanquet Producer
Lucy Boulting Casting
Eddie Collins Cinematographer
Eddie Collins Cinematographer
Freddie Francis Cinematographer
Peter Glossop Musical Direction/Supervision
Richard Hartley Score Composer
Michael Howells Production Designer
Andrew S. Karsch Producer
Peter King Makeup
Kelvin Pike Cinematographer
Tom Rand Costumes/Costume Designer
Sam Riley Art Director
Tom Rosenberg Executive Producer
Sasha Schwertd Set Decoration/Design
John Wells Screenwriter
Ian Wingrove Special Effects
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A UNIVERSAL TRUTH DISGUISED AS A LIE

    I LOVED THIS MOVIE. PHOEBE CATES PLAYS PRINCESS CARABOO. SHE IS REALLY THE MAID MARY BAKER WHO FAKED BEING PRINCESS CARABOO TO PROTECT HERSELF FROM BEGGING AND STARVING FOR FOOD. THIS FILM SHOWS HOW WILLING PEOPLE ARE TO BELIEVE SOMETHING WITHOUT VERIFYING IT AND HOW SHALLOW PEOPLE ARE AS TO WHOM THEY ASSOCIATE THEMSELVES WITH..UNTIL THE RUG GETS PULLED FROM UNDER THEM AND THEY COME FACE TO FACE WITH THE TRUTH..AND THE TRUTH IS THERE ARE REAL ISSUES OF POVERTY AND GAPS BETWEEN DIFFERENT CLASSES OF PEOPLE..WHO WHEN PUT TOGETHER DISCOVER THAT THEY ARE NOT SO DIFFERENT AFTER ALL. THIS FILM IS BASED ON A REAL PERSON NAMED MARY BAKER. SHE USES HER IMAGINATION TO GET HERSELF OUT OF A HORRIBLE SITUATION AND THAT TOOK A LOT OF COURAGE DESPITE THE FACT THAT SHE MANAGED TO DUPE A BUNCH OF PEOPLE. HER REASON FOR DOING SO LEAVES ONE FEELING MUCH SYMPATHY FOR HER PLIGHT. IN AN AGE WHERE PEOPLE THINK ONLY ABOUT THEMSELVES, IF WE CAN JUST REACH TO OUR FELLOW MAN OR WOMAN, FORGET ABOUT OUR STATUS, RACE, ETC. WE CAN LEARN A LOT ABOUT OURSELVES AND EACH OTHER..AND SOCIETY WILL BE A LOT BETTER FOR IT! FANTASTIC MOVIE, WATCH IT.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews