The Princess Comes Across (1936)

Genres - Comedy, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Whodunit  |   Run Time - 76 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

It's not all smooth sailing in The Princess Comes Across, a rather bumpy murder mystery, but it's a genial enough way to pass a little time. Princess has a bright and promising premise, if not an overly original one, and it's the kind of premise that allows for a convenient comedy mystery setup -- a leading character with a secret, a self-contained setting from which there is no easy entry or exit, a time constraint, and a pleasant assortment of characters. With this kind of start, it's usually just a matter of connecting the dots. Princess connects the dots, alright, but it has to struggle a little bit to do so, which is perhaps the result of too many writers being engaged on a rather straightforward job. The viewer keeps getting the idea that one writer contributed something -- a bit of character business perhaps -- the development of which was aborted by another writer. None of this sinks Princess, but it does keep it from being more than just an average, if enjoyable, film. Certainly it can't be faulted for its cast, with Carole Lombard providing a delightfully haughty ice princess who's as entertaining as her brassy alter ego, a boyish Fred MacMurray playing a smoothy with rough corners, a delightful William Frawley, and a priceless Alison Skipworth. No classic, Princess is still amiably diverting.