Set against the backdrop of the 1911 coronation of King George V, the film stars Olivier as Prince Charles, a strict Ruritanian regent, and Monroe as Elsie Marina, a fun-loving American showgirl. Before long, Elsie becomes involved not only in a royal romance, but in some international intrigue which could lead to a world war.
Twenty-first-century audiences may know this movie best as the Film Within a Film in My Week with Marilyn. Coincidentally, My Week With Marilyn was released in 2011, exactly a century after the 1911 setting of The Prince and the Showgirl.
This film provides examples of:
- Avoiding the Great War: Carpathia is in the Entente Alliance, but the underage King Nicolas is pro-German. Impatient to assume power, he plots with the Germans to oust the regent, an action which could lead to World War I starting three years early. Elsie prevents this from happening by mending the relationship between Prince Charles and King Nicolas.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Defrosting ice prince, more like.
- Ice regent to be precise.
- The Edwardian Era: Technically, it takes place during the coronation of King Edward's successor, but still.
- Extremely Short Timespan: The movie takes place over the course of three days, specifically June 21 to June 23 of 1911
- Grande Dame: The Queen Dowager, played by Dame Sybil Thorndike
- High-Class Glass: Prince Charles wears one
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Elsie
- Naïve Everygirl: Elsie
- Only Sane Man: Poor Northbrook
- Ruritania: Prince Charles is the prince regent of a fictional Balkan country called Carpathia, presumably named for the Carpathian Mountains.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Prince Charles is savvy, Elsie is energetic
- Uptight Loves Wild: Prince Charles is uptight, Elsie is wild.