Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Prince and the Showgirl


I wanted to see this one because it’s the basis of another movie, My Week With Marilyn. I thought it would be good to see this one before, rather than after. It seems to be a case of more interesting things happening behind the scenes than in the movie, because it’s not all that great. The performances by both Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe are quite good, particularly Marilyn, who could have a nice comic touch with the right material. But the story never caught my interest. It’s very stagy, which is no surprise, since it was adapted from a play by Terrence Rattigan, and Olivier was reprising his stage role.

This was the first film by Marilyn’s production company, which hired Olivier to direct. It was said that Marilyn wanted him off the picture, but couldn’t get around his contract. It also seems that Sir Larry came to regret sticking with it. There are those who say the experience of working with her put him off directing entirely for 13 years. Prior to this trifle he had directed only three movies, all of them Shakespearean, all of them cinematic masterpieces: Henry V, Hamlet, and Richard III. Wow! What a batting average! Here, there are some inventive camera angles, but there’s really not a lot one could do with this material. Frankly, he never should have wasted his time with this.