A Royal Scandal is a highly hilarious comedy with superb performances by Tallulah Bankhead and Charles Coburn, in particular, and the wit of the original play by Lajos Biro and Melchior Lengyel.
This version of Catherine the Great’s saga turns out to be a farce of real proportions, although never eclipsing the Czarina as an extremely vigorous personality, surrounded by palace intrigue and a parade of lovers. Ernst Lubitsch and director Otto Preminger have neatly interwoven the court intrigue with her w.k. amorous proclivities. The stream of captains of the palace guards is pointed up somewhat briskly.
Yarn concentrates on impetuous William Eythe, who has ridden three days and nights to warn the Czarina about two plotting generals. Because he admittedly is not tired after his strenuous ride, Catherine ignores his impetuosity and slight dumbness to have him await a nocturnal interview. That this interview is successful is borne out by subsequent events.