CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Olivia de Havilland makes for wonderful royalty in PRINCESS O'ROURKE (1943)

Princess O'Rourke is a breezy little comedy that stars Olivia de Havilland as Maria, a foreign princess visiting America who falls in love with a pilot named Eddie O'Rourke (played by Robert Cummings). The catch is Eddie doesn't know she is a princess and thinks she is just a regular girl. Albeit a girl with no skills to speak of. This is a wonderful comedy that I enjoyed quite a bit. It's a joy seeing Olivia in such a non-serious role for a change. All those The Dark Mirror, In This Our Life, and The Snake Pit can take a toll on an actress. Every now and then one needs to lighten up and have some fun. And that's what Olivia does. In her first major scene, she is taking a flight from New York to San Francisco and has to take a sleeping pill to relax. Well when she thinks it's not working, she takes another, and another, and another. Within a few minutes she is quite loopy and makes the funniest faces you have ever seen Olivia make. When the flight is turned back around due to bad weather, that's when the fun starts. Eddie has to take the now near comatose Maria back to his place to sleep it off. So once the two finally see each other they are immediately smitten. And the rest of the movie has them trying to get to know each other before Eddie and his best pal Dave (played by Jack Carson) are off to join the military to serve in the war. Dave's wife Jean is played by Jane Wyman, who has wonderful chemistry with Carson. They made a total of four films together and are one of the most underrated screen teams of all time. Carson gets in many of the film's funniest lines and Wyman is solid in several emotional scenes. She also works well with Olivia.
I enjoyed this movie from the very beginning as it features a nice comic rhythm and a great cast. It starts to sag a little towards the end but it's still a refreshing little comedy. Like I said earlier it's nice seeing Olivia in a rare comedy. I wished she had done more in a career, because she definitely has a flair for comedy. Also great support from veteran actor Charles Coburn as Maria's uncle, who is desperate for her to marry a prince or duke to put their family back on top. Princess O'Rourke is a winner all way around.


Sally said...

I love Olivia de Havilland! I agree - she really should have done more comedic roles. I love her in Four's a Crowd! I added this movie to my Netflix queue after reading your review.

Patti said...

I enjoyed this movie...a solid 3 stars for me. It's cute and fun. And don't you get a kick out of Charles Coburn when he finds out Bob Cummings' character is one of 9 boys and his father was one of 11? Suddenly, it was the perfect union for his princess!!

Audrey said...

I thought this was a really fun and cute film. I agree with you that it sags a little near the end but the great stuff at the beginning makes up for it. I love it when Olivia's character is trying to figure out why she stayed the night with Robert Cummings' character. She did have a flair for comedy and it shows here. And of course Carson and Wyman are terrific as always! Thanks for the review!!


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