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Film / The Prince and the Showgirl

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The Prince and the Showgirl is a 1957 Screwball Comedy starring Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe, and directed by the former. It was adapted from Terence Rattigan's play The Sleeping Prince.

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.


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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
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  • 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.


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