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Thursday, October 16, 2008

THIRTY DAY PRINCESS (1934)


This better than average formula pic from Paramount stars Sylvia Sidney as a mittel-Europa Princess who gets the mumps on an official visit to NYC. Financial wheeler-dealer Edward Arnold (in likable mode, not like his later Capra villains) needs some royal glamour to put over her country’s big bond issue, a scheme opposed by sharpie newsman Cary Grant, so a lookalike is needed. When a perfect double is found (Sylvia Sidney, natch, as a struggling actress), complications ensue. Fortunately, no one pushes the gags too hard and the hand of co-scripter Preston Sturges is not only happily felt thru-out, but thematic & structural intimations of THE LADY EVE/’41 add an extra kick to this film’s quiet charms. Grant is still working out his screen persona, but he’s already quite the dashing presence and under Marion Gering, Sidney’s house director, the scene where the two Sidney’s finally meet makes for wonderfully grown-up character comedy.

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