THIRTY DAY PRINCESS
(director: Marion Gering; screenwriters: Preston Sturges/Frank Partos/adaptation-Sam Hellman & Edwin Justus Mayer; cinematographer: Leon Shamroy; editor: Jane Loring; music: Howard Jackson/John Leipold; cast: Sylvia Sidney (Nancy Lane/Princess “Zizzi” Catterina), Cary Grant (Porter Madison, III), Edward Arnold (Richard M. Gresham), Vince Barnett (Count Nicholaus), Lucien Littlefield (Parker), Ray Walker (Dan Kirk), Henry Stephenson (King Anatol), Edgar Norton (Baron Passeria), Robert McWade (Managing editor), George Baxter (Donald Spottswood), Marguerite Namara (Lady-in-Waiting), Fred Sullivan (Doctor at Gresham’s); Runtime: 75; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Emanuel Cohen; Paramount; 1934-B/W)
“An enjoyable fluff B-film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An enjoyable fluff B-film from Paramount effectively directed with plenty of charm but not enough wit by Marion Gering (“Rumba”/ “Thunder in the City”). It’s based on a story by Clarence Budington Kelland. The co-writers are the great director Preston Sturges (who admits he added little to the script) and Frank Portos.
Shady international banker from NYC, Richard M. Gresham (Edward Arnold), visits the fictional country of Taronia and in a bathhouse befriends their nice guy King Anatol (Henry Stephenson). Gresham sees a way of making money and helping the king’s impoverished country by getting the American government to back a bond issue of $50,000,000. The loan will help Taronia provide homes and jobs for its poor people. Since the king is not a good salesman for the public relations project, he gets his attractive daughter, Princess “Zizzi” Catterina (Sylvia Sidney), to go to America instead to pitch the program on a cross-country goodwill tour. But on her arrival she comes down with the mumps and is quarantined for a month. Thereby Gresham has his men scour the city for a look-alike of the princess and finds in the Automat a starving actress, Nancy Lane (also Sydney), who is hired for $10, 000 to play the princess for a month and for an extra $5, 000 to lure Gresham’s Star Express publisher, Porter Madison, III (Cary Grant), the antagonistic opponent of the loan to change his mind and back the loan.
How the fake princess does this is the gist of the comedy, and despite some mishaps the commoners fall in love and live happily ever after when the publisher accepts how he was duped.
Cary and Sylvia, to no one’s surprise, are excellent in this modest, breezy comedy. The newspaper’s cynical veteran managing editor, as played by Robert McWade, provides more comic moments.
REVIEWED ON 8/14/2020 GRADE: B