The Prince and the Showgirl

Type: New Blu-Ray

Big headlines were made across the world when Marilyn Monroe announced she was leaving her home studio (20th Century-Fox), and starting her own production company “Marilyn Monroe Productions, Inc.” Helping her organize the new company was her friend (and photographer) Milton H. Greene. For her first production, she opted to head across the ocean to England’s Pinewood Studios to star in a film version of Terence Rattigan’s hit 1953 London stage face “The Sleeping Prince”. In mid-1956 with Greene serving as the film’s Executive Producer, Marilyn Monroe productions made a production and distribution arrangement with Warner Bros. To announce this new business arrangement a publicity event was held where Jack L. Warner gave Marilyn “a key to the studio”, to show her (and the press) how pleased Warner Bros. was to work with her on the production. When Monroe wanted to acquire the property, arrangements were made with Laurence Olivier to re-create his stage role as her leading man, and to co-produce and direct the film. Mr. Rattigan adapted his stage work to write the screenplay for this much-anticipated film. Production began in early August 1956, wrapping a few months later. The film was ultimately released with a premiere in New York on June 13, 1957, and gala engagements beginning on July 3, 1957, in Los Angeles and London. Set in 1911, the story tells of Elsie (Monroe), an American showgirl visiting London at the time of a coronation of King George V and Queen Mary. After a performance, she meets the roving-eyed Prince Regent from the Balkan State of Carpathia (Olivier) visiting backstage, and accepts an invitation to a private supper with him at his local Embassy apartment. The romantic duel that follows is propelled by moments of hilarity, as the prince tries to maneuver the reluctant but curious Elsie into his bewitching spell. Complications arise with comedic results, as Elsie soon finds herself involved in the political machinations of the Royal family. Rounding out the cast are a host of English character actors including Sybil Thorndike, Jeremy Spenser, David Thorne, and Richard Wattis. Legendary cinematographer Jack Cardiff lent his peerless talents to the production, with music composed by Richard Addinsell. The new Warner Archive Blu-ray release has been newly remastered in its proper 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio, from a 4K scan of the original camera negative. It has been meticulously restored for this release, which also includes the film’s original theatrical trailer.