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Celebrity weddings broadcast live through every available form of modern media is a common occurrence in today's culture but in 1956 it was still a relatively new phenomena. When Grace Kelly, one of Hollywood's most glamorous actresses in the fifties, agreed to marry Prince Rainier III of Monaco, it became the media event of 1956 and maybe the entire decade. It wasn't until Elizabeth Taylor married Richard Burton in 1964 that a celebrity wedding attracted this much international interest and scrutiny. The Wedding in Monaco (1956), a thirty-one minute featurette, is the official record of the Kelly-Rainier union and it has as much spectacle and lavish production values as any big budget Hollywood blockbuster.
Beginning with an overhead helicopter view of Monaco, the narrator gives a brief layout and overview of the Mediterranean principality before chronicling the details that lead up to the main attraction. Charting the arrival of Kelly by ocean liner with hundreds of American guests in tow to a special musical performance for the groom and bride-to-be to the private ceremony and then the official church wedding, The Wedding in Monaco is the epitome of a Hollywood fairy tale come true. Kelly, the former debutante and beloved actress, meets a real prince and retires from show business to live the rest of her life as a princess. Of course, we know now from the various biographies written about Grace Kelly that her life in Monaco was far from perfect and ended tragically in a car accident in 1982.
The Wedding in Monaco is only concerned with the pomp and circumstance of the grand event, however, and it has the tone of an editorial fluff piece sanctioned by the royal family of Monaco. In fact, the short subject was produced by permission of Prince Rainier III, in partnership with Citel Monaco, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and a French production company, Compagnie Francaise de Films. The narrator maintains a consistently high-toned attitude throughout his commentary gilding every line with overstated reverence and importance: "The air is filled with the emotion of this lovely moment."
The lavish affair finally comes to an appropriate end as Princess Grace and Prince Rainier literally sail into the sunset for their honeymoon. But the narrator gets the last word as usual with his obsequious parting remarks: "This chronicle of the wedding in Monaco should in all honesty end here as the dialogue of love begins but we intruded on them a little. On the embarkation dock the honeymoon departure should have been discreet even further but everybody was there, everybody and his brother. We all intruded for one more glimpse of the beautiful bride, the joyous life, the happy prince. We intruded to the furthest possible limit and now in the distance they will soon have disappeared. The sea plays with the white ship and the sun joins in the sport."
Producer: Jean Masson
Director: Jean Masson
Music: Stan Kenton, Daniel White
Cast: Grace Kelly (Herself), Prince Rainier of Monaco (Himself)
by Jeff Stafford