|THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS (1936)|
William K. Howard
|"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."|
|Time: 76 mins.|
Rating: Not Rated
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 at the height of her cinematic powers. 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. Her secret also adds to the usual boy-meet-girl on a boat scenario considering it ends up causing a murder. The mystery isn't all that interesting (though it's fairly well-constucted), however, it helps fill the time in between ports. Which is a good thing, because MacMurray just doesn't cut it as a romantic lead. They have decent chemistry, 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 supporing 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.