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The Prince and the Showgirl

The Prince and the Showgirl(1957)


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The working title of the film was The Sleeping Prince. The opening title card reads: "The Prince and the Showgirl Terence Rattigan Technicolor." The opening and closing cast credits vary slightly in order. According to a May 1957 Los Angeles Times news item, Marilyn Monroe formed her own company and purchased the rights to the Rattigan play The Sleeping Prince, in which Laurence Olivier (who reprised his role in the film) and Vivien Leigh played the title roles in the London production. In addition to Olivier, Jeremy Spenser and Richard Wattis also reprised their stage roles for the film. Rosamund Greenwood, who played "Maud" in the film, had earlier portrayed a countess in the London play. Art director Roger Furse served as set designer for the play.
       The film was shot entirely in London, England. According to March 1956 Los Angeles Examiner and Daily Variety news items, when Warner Bros. and Milton H. Green, vice-president of Marilyn Monroe Productions, announced Warner Bros.' release of the film, Jack Warner reported that it would be shot in VistaVision. In later years, Olivier admitted that he was initially enchanted by Monroe, but their relationship deteriorated considerably upon shooting the film. Modern sources add that Monroe was frequently late on the set and had difficulty following the direction of Olivier, who resented the presence of Paula Strasberg, Monroe's Method acting teacher, who served as her coach and was paid the third highest salary of cast and crew.
       In 1995, Colin Clark, a third assistant director for the film who later became a prominent documentary director, published portions from his personal diary written during production. In his book, Clark added the following people to the crew: Publicity Rupert Allan, Green's asst David Maysles; Monroe's makeup man Allan Snyder, Monroe's personal secy Hedda Rosten. According to Clark, Anthony Bushell directed the scenes in which Olivier acted. According to a modern source found in the film's file at the AMPAS Library, Leslie H. Baker served as the film's still photographer.
       An April 1953 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that the New York opening of the film was a benefit for a "Free Milk Fund for Babies." The $50 ticket entitled the holder to a Waldorf Champagne supper after the show. According to a November 1984 Hollywood Reporter news item, the white evening gown worn by Monroe in the film was auctioned at Sotheby's in December of that year, and a June 1996 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that "Elsie's" evening wrap was to be auctioned Christie's East.
       Rattigan's play was also the source for the Broadway musical The Girl Who Came to Supper by Nol Coward and Harry Kurnitz, and produced by Herman Levin. The musical, which ran from December 1963-March 1964, starred Jos Ferrar and Florence Henderson.