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Friday, 29 June 2012

The Prince and the Showgirl

Star of the month... Marilyn Monroe

Spotlight on... Royalty on Film

Marilyn Monroe as Elsie Marina

'The Prince and the Showgirl' is a 1957 royal romantic comedy directed by and starring Laurence Olivier with Marilyn Monroe and Sybil Thorndike.  The film was released by Marilyn's production company Marilyn Monroe Productions and is  written by Terence Rattigan, based on his 1953 play 'The Sleeping Prince'.

The film has recently received some attention in the film 'My Week with Marilyn' (2011) - this is the film Marilyn is making during the film.

Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe
as 'The Prince & the Showgirl'
King Nicholas of Capathia, and his father the Regent Prince Charles (played by Olivier) arrive in London in June 1911. Whilst the Regent is attending a musical performance of 'The Coconut Girl', he becomes interested in showgirl Elsie Marina (played by Monroe), and invites her to the embassy for "supper". The next day, the Queen Dowager (played by Thorndike) suggests Elsie should join her as a lady-in-waiting. Later that evening, the King invites Elsie to the Ball, as his partner.

Did you know...

  • The film was originally meant to be a musical, however Marilyn's then husband Arthur Miller persuaded Marilyn to lose the songs
  • This was the only film Marilyn made outside of the USA
  • Olivier played the role of The Regent opposite his real life wife Vivien Leigh

Awards and nominations
  • BAFTA nomination: Best British Actor (Laurence Olivier)
  • BAFTA nomination: Best Foreign Actress (Marilyn Monroe)
  • BAFTA nomination: Best British Film
  • BAFTA nomination: Best British Screenplay (Terence Rattigan)
  • BAFTA nomination: Best Film from any Source
  • Italian Film Academy David Di Donatello Award winner: Best Foreign Actress (Marilyn Monroe)
  • French Film Academy Crystal Star Award winner: Best Foreign Actress (Marilyn Monroe)
  • National Board of Review Award Winner - Best Supporting Actress (Sybil Thorndike)

Closing remarks

The first hour of the film is very enjoyable to watch, however the second hour is rather slow and gets boring at times. The film was originally meant to be a musical, which may have sped up the pace a little.

Elegant production design of the embassy makes this film a visual feast, with Marilyn's dazzling and delightful portrayal of the blonde bombshell. The acting highlight goes to Sybil Thorndike in her role as the deaf and witty Queen Mother.

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