Sunday, August 2, 2020
Princess O'Rourke (1943)
The royal family of *coughcoughcough* are displaced due to the war, and are taking refuge in the finest expensive hotels America has to offer, and partaking in common pastimes like visiting the president, or taking lunch at the Ritz. Princess Maria is bored of this lifestyle though, and just wants to lounge around the apartment. She becomes even more distressed when her family-minded uncle presents an eligible suitor, who's weird enough to have Maria feel like running for the hills. During a flight to San Francisco, she ends up having temporary amnesia due to a plane-terror related mishap, and is taken care of by pilot Eddie. The two gradually fall in love as she recovers, but while Maria is enjoying this life, from the common people, to the more hands on experiences, and help she can provide to the war, she's afraid her royal duties will put a permanent stop to it all...
Princess O'Rourke is an entertaining 1930s romance, with a few twists and turns as it navigates the tricky world of displaced royalty. Kicked out of their home country, but still snobby enough to act like the world owes them something, and they're naturally better than everyone else. Jeez, it's no wonder none of them got let back in! The titular Maria shows off how stifling this world could be for a young woman just wanting to live life, but being constantly shadowed by security guards, having hat boxes torn apart in search of bombs, and having your love life dictated to you in terms of = rather than affection.
The movie takes some amusing turns that are partly very expected, but also different than the norm. A princess getting amnesia is pretty typical stuff, but here she gets it in such an unexpected way! It's because she pops sleeping pills like candy! That whole scene I was covering my eyes, half expecting her to overdoes and die 20 minutes in. Surprisingly the film actually shows a side effect from this overzealous remedy, hence the amnesia. It only lasts for the night though, so we're spared a whole movie about that. Good news to some I'm sure, although I think it could've been fun if they'd stuck to that for the whole plot.
There are a lot of laughs to be had here. The scene at the Red Cross is a highlight, with many amusing characters and situations. There's also the scene on the plane, the crazy royal matches, and the misunderstandings in the street (how many times can a poor sap get punched in one day? Twice!), and more.
While not a vicious satirical screed against their very being, the movie isn't afraid to poke fun or criticise certain aspects of royalty. This is very welcome, and these moments are hilarious, like the = with the disturbing tic ( ,but I could only think of how inbred it must be!), the uncle's = insistence on sons, as well as all the bizarre little rules they have. Even the simple act of marrying a 'mere commoner' only comes to = because it was suitable to their own ends. Thankfully the movie wasn't content with this, but instead with having the relationship happen despite all of that, rather than just accepting it as the = and moving on.
The wartime message here is also a good one! It's patriotic and affirming message]]], which is really =, and inclusive. It sends the message that it's important to do something and make a difference, regardless of how big or small. Could be something as knitting a sweater for the troops, as long as you're making some kind of effort. It's very non-judgemental. I appreciate the stance= takes against these crazier royal practices
The Great Olivia de Havilland is a great lead. Funny, cute, and pretty, she gets across everything she needs to, never lacking in any area. The same is true of Robert Cummings, who's a good romantic lead, and = foil to the worlds apart princess. Charles Coburn and Jane Wyman are a great pair of supporting leads, and give lots of humour and life to the proceedings. I only wish Olivia and her = had made even the slightest attempt to sound foreign, but I suppose it's for the best. I know very well the butchery Americans can do to other accents! One last thing to note is the presence of FDR's dog! There's a honest to god real life presidential pooch here! His name is Fala and he is adorable.
Being a big-budgeted 1930s picture, this looks great, and has very nice cinematography and direction. It's also nicely creative in some areas too, and always easy on the eyes.
Princess O'Rourke is a great time! It's a sweet and romantic picture, with plenty of cheer and