Nearly a King (1916)

Genres - Fantasy, Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Fantasy Comedy, Musical Fantasy  |   Countries - USA  |  
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In spite of his acclaim as a stage actor, during his early motion picture career, John Barrymore generally played lightweight comedic roles. In this film -- another one of those mythical kingdom tales -- he plays a swashbuckler. It begins with an out-of-work actor (Barrymore) glumly contemplating the prospects of future employment. His valet approaches him with a screenplay he has written himself, and as the thespian reads it, the action comes to life: A crown prince (Barrymore again) is supposed to marry the princess of a neighboring principality, but he's in love with a dancer, so he leaves the country and has an American actor, Merriwell (Barrymore once again), take his place. Merriwell has already met and fallen in love with the princess on the voyage across the Atlantic, so the situation promises to be a happy one. But Merriwell is unmasked as an impostor and the Regent orders that he be put to death. However, it just happens to be the princess' birthday, and now that she has reached her majority, the regency is over and the people must do her bidding -- which is to leave her husband, impostor or no, in peace. A brief cut back to the unemployed actor shows that he approves of his valet's work. Whether they can convince a studio to buy the property is never addressed.

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Keywords

aristocracy, actor, king, kingdom, lookalike, mistaken-identity, monarch, musical [play], prison, role-switching