THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS (1936) 

CAST
Carole Lombard
Fred MacMurray
Douglass Dumbrille
Alison Skipworth
George Barbier
William Frawley
Porter Hall
Lumsden Hare
Sig Ruman

DIRECTED BY
William K. Howard
PURCHASE


Movie




Time: 76 Minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Romance/Comedy

SYNOPSIS: A Swedish princess boards an ocean liner in Europe en route to an acting career in America, and finds herself getting inconveniently attached to a bandleader returning home. To complicate matters, a blackmailer on board apparently knows she is not who she claims to be - and he has his sights set on other passengers with secrets of their own. In the meantime an escaped killer has stowed away under someone else's identity, and is killing again to cover his tracks. When evidence points to the princess and bandleader, they must find the killer themselves before he finds them.

BOTTOM LINE: Lombard must have been slightly nervous to play the Princess in this piece, since her character is so obviously a takeoff of Great Garbo's onscreen persona. Especially with Garbo still at the height of her cinematic powers when this was made. Clearly they figured she would find at least a bit of humor in the homage. The accent and attitude give Lombard's character greater comic depth than her usual dames, allowing her to strut not only her beauty but her impeccable sense of timing. She's clearly having fun here and her energy helps keep this film afloat.

Her secret also adds to the usual boy-meet-girl on a boat scenario - though having a shocking secret is one of the oldest rom/com conventions - considering it ends up causing a murder, which is a bit unusual for the genre. Unfortunately, the mystery isn't all that interesting (though it's fairly well-constucted), however, it helps fill the time in between ports and gives the leads something important to do. Which is a good thing, because MacMurray just doesn't cut it as a romantic lead. He has decent chemistry with Lombard, but there is no magic in their meeting. You go along with their romance because they're the stars and they're supposed to fall in love. The supporting cast led by Frawley, Skipworth and Hall are expert scene-stealers and the reason I gave this film an extra half star. Worth a look for those who want to see what Lombard's talent is all about.



"My dear, I am an old woman. I have travelled at home and abroad, and NEVER, NEVER have I known any good to come out of a concertina."

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