The King and the Chorus Girl


1h 35m 1937
The King and the Chorus Girl

Brief Synopsis

While vacationing in New York, a European prince falls for a showgirl.

Film Details

Also Known As
Grand Passion
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Musical
Release Date
Mar 27, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Synopsis

Former king Alfred VII drinks every night because he is so bored. His only two remaining subjects, Count Humbert and Duchess Anna, take him to the Folies Bergère, hoping the show will interest him. He is about to fall asleep in his seat when he notices one of the chorus girls, Dorothy Ellis, and asks Anna and Humbert to invite her to supper. Dorothy arrives at the hotel where Alfred lives only to discover that he has fallen asleep, so she immediately returns home. Anna is impressed by Dorothy's independence and is convinced that Alfred will be intrigued by a woman who does not chase him. She and Humbert visit Dorothy and beg her to resist Alfred in order to interest him in life. The ruse works and Alfred pursues her enthusiastically. He even stops drinking. Then, Dorothy falls in love with Alfred. Realizing that he will probably not marry a commoner, however, she pretends that she is leaving the show to get married. Alfred doesn't believe her and decides to abduct her to his yacht. To convince him that she is telling the truth, Dorothy arranges for Humbert to find Donald, an American waiter who is pretending to be her fiancé. Alfred starts drinking again and by chance walks into the restaurant where the waiter works. He learns that Donald was paid to impersonate a doctor and that Dorothy was paid to stop him from drinking. His feelings hurt, Alfred invites Dorothy to dinner on his yacht, planning to confront her. During the argument, Dorothy blurts out that she loves him before she runs away. Delighted by the news, Alfred searches everywhere for her and finally finds her on board a ship headed for America. He charters the ship, and after he arranges for the captain to marry them, the ship sails to Niagara Falls for the honeymoon.

Film Details

Also Known As
Grand Passion
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Musical
Release Date
Mar 27, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Articles

The King and the Chorus Girl


Predating the Laurence Olivier/Marilyn Monroe vehicle The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) by 20 years, The King and the Chorus Girl (1937) is another story about a jaded member of the European monarchy who falls for a shapely blonde chorine. The scenario, set in Paris, was created by Groucho Marx and his old friend Norman Krasna. The monarch is played by Belgian actor Fernand Gravey, making his American film debut after a long career in French films. The chorus cutie is Warner Bros. standby Joan Blondell, playing a showgirl at the Folies Bergere. Songs include "For You," sung by Kenny Baker, and "On the Rue de la Paix," performed by the Folies Bergere chorus.

The King and the Chorus Girl proved quite timely, since three months before its release King Edward VIII of Great Britain abdicated his throne to marry a commoner, American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson. In Britain, to downplay the sensitive "royal" angle, the film was re-titled Romance Is Sacred.

Jane Wyman, another hard-working Warner Bros. star who got her start playing chorus girls, has one of her first featured parts as Blondell's pal. At one point in her career Wyman was hailed as a likely successor to Blondell as the studio's leading brassy blonde with a heart of gold. Beginning with The Lost Weekend (1945), however, Wyman struck out in a very different direction as a brunette dramatic actress. Over the years she and Blondell gradually exchanged positions in the film world, with Wyman emerging as a star and Blondell moving into supporting roles, albeit juicy ones. In their long careers Wyman and Blondell appeared together in four other movies: Stage Struck (1936), Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936), The Kid From Kokomo (1939) and The Blue Veil (1951), for which both were Oscar-nominated Wyman as Best Actress and Blondell as Supporting Actress.

Producer/Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Screenplay: Norman Krasna, Groucho Marx, from their story "Grand Passion"; Julius J. Epstein (dialogue, uncredited), Arthur Sheekman (dialogue and treatment, uncredited)
Art Direction: Robert M. Haas
Cinematography: Tony Gaudio
Costume Design: Orry-Kelly
Editing: Thomas Richards
Original Music: Werner R. Heymann, Ted Koehler
Cast: Fernand Gravey (Alfred Bruger VII), Joan Blondell (Dorothy Ellis), Edward Everett Horton (Count Humbert Evel Bruger), Alan Mowbray (Donald Taylor), Mary Nash (Duchess Anna of Eberfield), Jane Wyman (Babette Latour), Luis Alberni (Gaston).
BW-95m.

by Roger Fristoe

The King And The Chorus Girl

The King and the Chorus Girl

Predating the Laurence Olivier/Marilyn Monroe vehicle The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) by 20 years, The King and the Chorus Girl (1937) is another story about a jaded member of the European monarchy who falls for a shapely blonde chorine. The scenario, set in Paris, was created by Groucho Marx and his old friend Norman Krasna. The monarch is played by Belgian actor Fernand Gravey, making his American film debut after a long career in French films. The chorus cutie is Warner Bros. standby Joan Blondell, playing a showgirl at the Folies Bergere. Songs include "For You," sung by Kenny Baker, and "On the Rue de la Paix," performed by the Folies Bergere chorus. The King and the Chorus Girl proved quite timely, since three months before its release King Edward VIII of Great Britain abdicated his throne to marry a commoner, American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson. In Britain, to downplay the sensitive "royal" angle, the film was re-titled Romance Is Sacred. Jane Wyman, another hard-working Warner Bros. star who got her start playing chorus girls, has one of her first featured parts as Blondell's pal. At one point in her career Wyman was hailed as a likely successor to Blondell as the studio's leading brassy blonde with a heart of gold. Beginning with The Lost Weekend (1945), however, Wyman struck out in a very different direction as a brunette dramatic actress. Over the years she and Blondell gradually exchanged positions in the film world, with Wyman emerging as a star and Blondell moving into supporting roles, albeit juicy ones. In their long careers Wyman and Blondell appeared together in four other movies: Stage Struck (1936), Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936), The Kid From Kokomo (1939) and The Blue Veil (1951), for which both were Oscar-nominated Wyman as Best Actress and Blondell as Supporting Actress. Producer/Director: Mervyn LeRoy Screenplay: Norman Krasna, Groucho Marx, from their story "Grand Passion"; Julius J. Epstein (dialogue, uncredited), Arthur Sheekman (dialogue and treatment, uncredited) Art Direction: Robert M. Haas Cinematography: Tony Gaudio Costume Design: Orry-Kelly Editing: Thomas Richards Original Music: Werner R. Heymann, Ted Koehler Cast: Fernand Gravey (Alfred Bruger VII), Joan Blondell (Dorothy Ellis), Edward Everett Horton (Count Humbert Evel Bruger), Alan Mowbray (Donald Taylor), Mary Nash (Duchess Anna of Eberfield), Jane Wyman (Babette Latour), Luis Alberni (Gaston). BW-95m. by Roger Fristoe

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The Variety review notes that Fernand Gravet was "imported" by producer Mervyn LeRoy from Belgium. This film was LeRoy's debut as a Warner Bros. producer. It was released soon after the abdication of Edward VIII and contemporary sources note Gravet's physical resemblance to the Duke of Windsor. In a modern source, Groucho Marx writes "any similarity between our story and the love affair between the King of England and Mrs. Simpson was intentional." According to Variety, the car that Gravet drives in the film belonged to the actress Constance Bennett and had been previously used by Mae West in a film. AMPAS files include a request from LeRoy's office to the Academy to add Arthur Sheekman's name to the screen credits as contributor to treatment and dialogue. The Academy agreed, but on the viewed print, Sheekman's name was not present. A Variety news item gives the title of Krasna and Marx's original script as Grand Passion. This was Marx's first onscreen credit on a non-Marx Bros. feature.