London, June 1911. George V will be crowned king in a couple weeks and in the preceding days many of the most important dignitaries arrive. Amongst those arriving are King Nicholas (Jeremy Spenser) of Carpathia and the regent, Prince Charles (Laurence Olivier).

The British government realizes Carpathia is critical to the tension in Europe and to gain favor with them would be wise. They find it necessary to pamper their stay to London and thus civil servant Northbrook (Richard Wattis) is detached to their service. Northbrook decides to take the Prince Regent out to the musical performance of “The Coconut Girl”. During the intermission, the Prince Regent is taken backstage to meet the cast. He is particularly interested in Elsie Marina (Marilyn Monroe), one of the performers, and invites her to the embassy for supper.

Elsie arrives at the embassy and is soon joined by the Prince Regent. She expects a party but quickly realizes the Prince's true intentions but is convinced not to leave by Northbrook with his promise to provide an excuse for her later. Whilst the Prince and Elsie are trying to have a quiet supper there are many interruptions.

Later on the Prince makes a pass at Elsie which she, giggling with the effect of champagne they have been drinking, refuses. She explains how disappointed she was that he isn't more romantic. The Prince latches onto this, changing his tactics. The two eventually kiss and Elsie admits she may be falling in love but she passes out from the drink. The Prince places her in an adjoining bedroom to stay the night.

The following day Elsie overhears a conversation concerning the young Nicholas plotting to overthrow his father. Promising not to tell, Elsie then meets the Queen Mother (Dame Sybil Thorndike) who decides she should join them for the coronation in place of her oversized lady in waiting. The ceremony passes and afterwards Elsie refuses to tell the Prince Regent details of the treasonous plot, but during the coronation ball (to which she was invited by Nicholas) she manages to persuade Nicholas to draw up a contract in which he confesses his and the Germans intent, but only if the Prince agrees to a general election. The Prince Regent is impressed and realizes that he has fallen in love with Elsie. The morning after the Coronation Ball, Elsie manages to iron out the differences between father and son.

The next day the Carpathians must leave to return home. Elsie is invited by the Prince Regent to come with them but she stays to fulfill her stage obligations and to allow him to fulfill his political obligations. The Prince Regent suggests that she join them in Carpathia after the end of her contract. The film ends with a possible meeting in 18 months time when the Prince Regent is free of his obligations and she is free of hers.

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Terence Rattigan's play The Sleeping Prince was a delightful comedy that came to Broadway in 1956, but closed after only a short run. Audiences did not respond to the play in New York, as well as it was received in London. Michael Redgrave, who also played the title role, directed it. Barbara Bel Geddes and Cathleen Nesbitt were featured in the cast. The West End cast featured Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh as the Regent and the showgirl with Michael Redgrave directing.

Considering that all of the backstage talk on the making of “The Prince and the Showgirl” tells us that a huge rift developed between Oliver and Monroe, however, their chemistry in this charming comedy is incredible and very apparent. Oliver does a standout job. Their would-be seduction scene early on, where a tipsy Monroe confronts him with a show of confidence amidst her giggles, is a highlight of the film and sets the tone for the kind of banter between them.

The casting of Marilyn Monroe, at the peak of her career was probably a sort of gamble. After all, Ms. Monroe was going to go one on one with one of the pillars of the English theater. Instead of a mismatch, the film offered a good opportunity for Marilyn Monroe to prove she was worth the opportunity. Recently graduated from the Actors Studio in New York, Marilyn never looked more elegant than she does here, costumed and coiffed to look incredibly beautiful. Never has she shown such a flair for enjoying herself in a role. Monroe is absolutely wonderful--her performance is well thought out and very strong, using every ounce of her famed comedic skill. This film in particular was a highlight in Marilyn Monroe's career. It was the first - and unfortunately, only - film made by her production company Marilyn Monroe Productions and was also the first time she had made a film abroad. Her training paid of, as she was nominated for London’s prestigious BAFTA Award, the equivalent of our Oscar. She wasn’t the only one nominated though. The film also nominated Olivier for Best Actor, as well as, Best Film from any Source, Best Screenplay (Terence Rattigan) and overall Best Film of 1957.

The outstanding performances by Richard Wattis and Dame Sybil Thorndike are the glue that holds this film together. Their performances are simply wonderful. The overall finished product has a glossy, elegant and thoroughly professional look. While Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe are both excellent, it is Monroe who upstages Olivier more than once. The movie is well filmed and well paced. Overall, the story is a winner... a very charming tribute to the virtues of persistence!