This first indie production of Marilyn Monroe’s company is a generally pleasant comedy, but the pace is leisurely. Filmed in London with a predominantly British cast, the film is not a cliche Cinderella story as its title might indicate.
Based on Terence Rattigan’s play The Sleeping Prince, the story takes place in London in 1911 at the time of the coronation of King George V. Laurence Olivier and his entourage, including his son, the boy king of the Balkan country, and the queen dowager, Olivier’s mother-in-law, come to London for the ceremonies. The regent’s roving eye alights on Monroe and the British Foreign Office, apprehensive of the delicate balance of power in the Balkan area, makes a determined effort to give the regent what he wants.
To Olivier’s credit as producer, director and performer, he achieves the utmost from his material. His own performance as the stuffy regent is flawless. The part of the seemingly naive showgirl is just right for Monroe; she shows a real sense of comedy and can command a laugh with her walk or with an expression.
Sybil Thorndike is excellent as the hard-of-hearing not-quite-there dowager; Jeremy Spenser, who bears a remarkable resemblance to Sal Mineo, is appropriately serious as the young king, and Richard Wattis is properly harassed as the British Foreign office representative.