(director: Mervyn LeRoy; screenwriters: Groucho Marx/Norman Krasna/from the story “Grand Passion” by Marx & Krasna; cinematographer: Tony Gaudio; editor: Thomas Richards; music: Werner R. Heymann; 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), Lionel Pape (Dr. Kornish), Jacques Lory (Waiter); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Mervyn LeRoy; Warner Bros.; 1937-B/W)

“Go figure, it’s co-written by Groucho Marx and is not funny.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Go figure, it’s co-written by Groucho Marx and is not funny. Groucho and his old friend Norman Krasna write the screenplay based on their story the “Grand Passion.” Director Mervyn LeRoy (“Quo Vadis”/”Little Caesar”) directs as if he’s asleep at the reel.

Alfred Bruger VII (Fernand Gravey, Belgian actor, making his American film debut ), a former deposed king, is now living an aimless life in Paris with his last two subjects still serving him, Count Humbert (Edward Everett Horton) and Duchess Anna (Mary Nash). He’s urged by his two loyal subjects to stop drinking himself to sleep every night and go to the theater to be seen in public. He chooses to attend the Folies Bergere, where he’s attracted to the American chorus girl Dorothy Ellis (Joan Blondell).

As the monarch courts her, she demands in a restrained way to be treated with dignity and he learns that to keep her he must oblige her wishes. They manage to find true romance, in a film that’s so boring it can put you to sleep without the need of drink. In the final act, there’s a shipboard marriage and the Royal couple sail to Niagara Falls for the honeymoon.

The musical numbers include “For You” and “On the Rue de la Paix.”

Alan Mowbray is wasted in a small part pretending to be a doctor treating the king.

The film benefited at the box office when three months prior to its release, King Edward VIII of Great Britain abdicated his throne to wed an American commoner, divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson.

King and the Chorus Girl 1937

REVIEWED ON 12/2/2019  GRADE: C 

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