Prince and the Showgirl

The Prince and the Showgirl

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Cast: Laurence Olivier, Marilyn Monroe, Sybil Thorndike, Richard Wattis

     
 

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The title of the Anglo-American The Prince and the Showgirl could well have alluded to the genuine stations in life of stars Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe. Based on the Terence Rattigan play The Sleeping Prince, the film casts Olivier as Charles, prince regent of Carpathia, who is in London to attend the 1911 coronation of King George V. Monroe

Overview

The title of the Anglo-American The Prince and the Showgirl could well have alluded to the genuine stations in life of stars Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe. Based on the Terence Rattigan play The Sleeping Prince, the film casts Olivier as Charles, prince regent of Carpathia, who is in London to attend the 1911 coronation of King George V. Monroe is deceptively dizzy American chorus girl Elsie Marina, who while performing in a West End revue catches Charles' eye. The prince arranges for Elsie to attend an "intimate supper" at his hotel suite. Though Elsie successfully wards off Charles' advances, she drinks too much bubbly and ends up falling asleep. Comes the dawn, and Prince Charles is anxious to show the awkward Elsie the door. She, however, has fallen in love with the prince, and sticks around long enough to upset a plan to overthrow the Carpathian throne, and to patch up a feud between Charles and his son Nicholas (Jeremy Spencer). Olivier directed as well as starred in The Prince and the Showgirl; he knew he had his work cut out for him in dealing with the mercurial Marilyn Monroe, but he managed to hold his temper and to extract a delightful comic performance from the actress. Alas, the film was a box-office disappointment, leading many Hollywood insiders to moan and wail that Monroe was "washed up" in films -- at least until her spectacular comeback in Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot (1959).

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The unusual pairing of Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier turns The Prince and the Showgirl into a delightful romantic comedy. With lesser lights involved, Showgirl could have been rather tedious, for it travels over territory we've all visited before. Granted, Terence Rattigan's screenplay is not without charm and the occasional little surprise, but it's also a trifle tired -- enough so that even Monroe and Olivier can't quite push the finished product into the realm of the classics. Still, there are more than enough joys to be found in Showgirl, starting with the showgirl herself. It's possible that Monroe may never have been more attractive than she is here; she glows, shimmers, and radiates practically every moment that she's onscreen. Even more importantly, the actress has rarely given a more delicious, accomplished performance. Monroe could always be counted on to deliver comedy in a sensual vein; what's refreshing here is that the sex takes second place to the comedy, and that the actress gets a chance to play a character with genuine intelligence (as opposed to the instinctual "smarts" that so many of her women possess). It's a lovely performance, full of small surprises. Olivier's performance is not as noteworthy, although it's wonderfully assured and often a treat; his angry outbursts are especially pleasing. More importantly, he develops an all-important chemistry with his co-star, without which the film wouldn't work. But Olivier's real contribution to the film is his direction. While the film tends to drag a bit in a few places, Olivier uses Jack Cardiff and his camera quite well, especially in the coronation sequence and at the ball. (The dancers filling the frame in a swirl of gorgeous color is especially noteworthy.) He also deserves a great deal of credit for getting such a finely modulated performance from Monroe, as well as solid work from the supporting cast. Showgirl is ultimately a trifle, but a very tasty one.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/03/2012
UPC:
0883929244126
Original Release:
1957
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:57:00
Sales rank:
1,948

Special Features

Closed Caption; Announcement Newsreel

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Marilyn Monroe Elsie Marina
Laurence Olivier Grand Duke Charles
Sybil Thorndike Queen Dowager
Richard Wattis Northbrooke
Jeremy Spencer Prince Nicholas
Paul Hardwick Major Domo
Esmond Knight Col. Hoffman
Rosamond Greenwood Maud
Aubrey Dexter The Ambassador
Maxine Audley Lady Sunningdale
Harold Goodwin Call Boy
Jean Kent Maisie Springfield
Daphne Anderson Fanny
Gillian Owen Maggie
Vera Day Betty
Margot Lister Lottie
Charles Victor Theatre Manager
David Horne The Foreign Officer
Gladys Henson Dresser
Andrea Malandrinos Valet with Violin

Technical Credits
Laurence Olivier Director,Producer
Richard Addinsell Score Composer
Jack Cardiff Cinematographer
William Chappell Choreography
Beatrice Dawson Costumes/Costume Designer
Carmen Dillon Art Director
Milton H. Greene Executive Producer
Jack Harris Editor
Muir Mathieson Musical Direction/Supervision
Terence Rattigan Screenwriter

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Prince and the Showgirl
1. Credits [1:50]
2. His Future Charge [3:20]
3. The Regent Visits [4:56]
4. An Invitation [1:48]
6. Elsie Arrives [4:26]
5. Forms of Address [2:38]
7. Enter the Regent [4:12]
8. An Indelicate Call [2:39]
9. King Nicholas [5:04]
10. Princely Pass Fumble [3:11]
11. Seduction Scenario [7:32]
12. Unwelcome Messenger [2:50]
13. Coronation Morning [4:39]
14. "Better An Old Hat Than..." [2:06]
15. "This Is the Morning" [3:00]
16. Charming Dance [3:52]
17. My Regent Where [3:17]
18. Order Perseverance [6:14]
19. To the Abbey [3:16]
20. The Coronation [6:23]
21. The Language Barrier [6:22]
22. The Coronation Ball [8:05]
23. Plan for Two Suppers [2:44]
24. Trapping a Fox [4:46]
25. I Found a Dream [2:22]
26. Hocus-Pocus [5:43]
27. Au revoir [5:01]
28. Parting Advice [1:43]
29. Royal Mementos [1:48]
30. Cast List [:43]

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The Prince and the Showgirl 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This film tediously drags out the most uninteresting verbal slapstick making it a genuine bore.. The soundtrack is almost impossible to follow due to the marble-mouthed, fast banter of the imitation British. English subtitles for the English-speaking viewer are a must .. Neither of the plots is sufficiently developed to see it unfold as the film progresses.. Monroe in the skin tight white gown is very appealing; but, it is also quite revealing of her need to drop about twenty pounds. Overall, the film is far too long for the shallow plots which require meticulous care to find.