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The King and the Chorus Girl (1937) Online

The King and the Chorus Girl (1937) Online
Original Title :
The King and the Chorus Girl
Genre :
Movie / Comedy / Romance
Year :
Directror :
Mervyn LeRoy
Cast :
Fernand Gravey,Joan Blondell,Edward Everett Horton
Writer :
Norman Krasna,Groucho Marx
Type :
Time :
1h 34min
Rating :
The King and the Chorus Girl (1937) Online

Ex-King Alfred VII is a young, handsome, and charming erstwhile monarch who once ruled a nation of two million people. Now all he has left are his Count Humbert and Duchess Anna, along with enough money to live an idle life in Paris with dozens of servants. He hasn't seen daylight in years; he prefers instead to drink himself into a stupor regularly. He's phenomenally bored, and a routine trip to a tedious cabaret finds a chorus girl flirting with him. He calls her to his apartment, apparently to seduce her as he's done many times before, but when she comes, he's passed out. Her outrage gives Humbert and Anna the idea that might bring Alfred out of his unhappy ennui - tell him she didn't come, and have her act as though he weren't so important after all. He of course pursues her with vigor and is snapped out of his apathy. But what happens if she falls in love with him?
Complete credited cast:
Fernand Gravey Fernand Gravey - Alfred Bruger VII (as Fernand Gravet)
Joan Blondell Joan Blondell - Miss Dorothy Ellis
Edward Everett Horton Edward Everett Horton - Count Humbert Evel Bruger
Alan Mowbray Alan Mowbray - Donald Taylor
Mary Nash Mary Nash - Duchess Anna of Elberfield
Jane Wyman Jane Wyman - Babette Latour
Luis Alberni Luis Alberni - Gaston
Kenny Baker Kenny Baker - Folies Bergère Soloist
Al Shaw Al Shaw - Folies Bergère Entertainer (as Shaw)
Sam Lee Sam Lee - Folies Bergère Entertainer (as Lee)
Lionel Pape Lionel Pape - Prof. Kornish
Leonard Mudie Leonard Mudie - Footman
Adrian Rosley Adrian Rosley - Concierge (as Adrian Roseley)

The script was co-authored by Groucho Marx and his dry wit is often present. This was his first on-screen credit for a film not involving the Marx Brothers.

Edward Everett Horton is often remembered by children of a certain age as the narrator of The Bullwinkle Show' s "Fractured Fairy Tales."

Female lead Joan Blondell was a well-established actress for Warner Brothers by 1940, usually playing female best friend parts.

This film was released soon after the abdication of King Edward VIII so he could marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. A contemporary reviewer noted the casting of Fernand Gravey and his resemblance to the Duke of Windsor. Grocho Marx, who co-wrote the script, later remarked, "any similarity between our story and the love affair between the King of England and Mrs. Simpson was intentional".

First American picture for French film star Fernand Gravey.

User reviews



Since the first time I watched this a few years back, I have thought it was a little gem. As an older woman, I really enjoy Joan Blondell as the caberet chorus line gal, who catches the eye of a former king (Fernand Gravet) of a small country, who thinks she is flirting with him because in the act each girl is to pick one part of the audience to sing to.

As a lush who drinks and parties all night and sleeps all day, his retinue is most concerned about him. When Blondell spurns his advances which piques his interest, his staff (Edward Everett Horton & wife) decide to get her to keep doing it so he will try to win her. Of course, he keeps chasing her until she catches him.

The fun is in watching Gravet and Blondell interact with each other. Both are charming and we have fun right along with them. For a sweet and witty comedy from the 30's, I give it a 9/10 for pure sit back and enjoyment.


Enjoyed this classic 1937 film which was a very cute comedy about a King played by Fernand Gravet,(Alfred Bruger VII) who falls in love with a chorus girl played by Joan Blondell, (Miss Dorothy Ellis). Alfred Bruger the King fell in love almost immediately after viewing her as a chorus girl and wound up taking her to his home and she locked him in his own bedroom and would not let him out. There is plenty of comical games being played between this couple and they both fall deeply in love with each other. The King even hires an entire cruise ship to capture Dorothy Ellis in an effort to propose to her and never let her get away. Edward Everett Horton,(Count Humbert Evel Bruger) gave a great supporting role and added plenty of comedy in many scenes. If you look close, you will see Jane Wyman, (the former wife of President Ronald Regan).


If you like 1930s romantic comedies, you will probably enjoy this movie. I almost didn't watch it because of a few negative comments on this website, but I'm glad I decided to give it a try. The dialogue reflects Groucho Marx's style. The performances by Joan Blondell and Fernand Gravet give the movie a warmer, more personable, romantic feeling than Groucho is known for. If you don't set your expectations too high after seeing Groucho's name associated with the movie, you will enjoy the movie very much. I certainly did, and I'd like to watch it again with my husband.


I actually thought this was a very witty and charming movie. I thought it was very funny that the prince slept all day and went out all night. Especially when he was sleeping with his eyes open at the caberet. This is an unrated classic that deverses to be glorified. It is very sad that this movie was not a hit. Maybe because it is very deep. A hidden classic.


I really only know FERNAND GRAVET from his playing of Johann Strauss in THE GREAT WALTZ and was not overly impressed with his by-the-numbers impersonation of the great music master.

So, truth be told, I wasn't expecting much from this little comedy co-starring him with JOAN BLONDELL, another so-so actress who occasionally had a bright role to play in films like A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN but usually had to be content with less than impressive roles in screwball comedies of the '30s and '40s.

Considering that the script for THE KING AND THE CHORUS GIRL is penned by Norman Krasna and Groucho Marx, it's a shame the material lacks the sort of wit to be expected when those two minds collaborated. Let me put it this way--Gravet is supposed to be able to sit through a show with his eyes wide open but asleep. That's the way I felt forcing myself to stay with this "comedy".

He sits patiently through KENNY BAKER's tenor solo at a nightclub in Paris on a huge art deco set but is soon transfixed by flirtatious bit of business from JOAN BLONDELL as a chorus girl flashing a mirror beam at his face and promptly decides he wants to have dinner with her.

Blondell is introduced to EDWARD EVERETT HORTON as a Count and MARY NASH as a Duchess before her dinner date with Gravet, as King Alfred VII. The trouble is the bored king has fallen asleep.

There's such a lack of wit in the writing that you may fall asleep too. Hard to believe that with this pleasant cast, Krasna and Marx couldn't do better. It's a screenplay that strains to be funny--but isn't.

Gravet is more animated than usual in comedy, but is most convincing when he's bored. Blondell is prettily photographed and pleasant as the chorus girl but it's a role that's no stretch for any young actress.

Wasted in a supporting role is JANE WYMAN (with French accent), who would later do another little Krasna comedy called PRINCESS O'ROURKE in a much better supporting role.

The slim plot depends upon Blondell's resistance to the King's charm, determined as she is to be as unimpressed as possible. Their first meeting ends disastrously with Blondell finding his behavior boorish. It's the sort of theme that was much better done years later with Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier in THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL.

Summing up: Fernand Gravet tries hard but he's no Cary Grant in screwball comedy--and both he and Blondell needed a better script!


This movie is an absolute delight and I cannot believe it's not considered a minor classic. Joan Blondell and Fernand Gravey have an incredible chemistry - so many reviewers have talked about how witty and sexy Blondell is in this movie, but so is Gravey (grrrr!)! I kept laughing out loud, and when I looked up the movie here to read more about it and saw that it was co-written by Groucho Marx, so many things made sense as to why the banter is so witty. Solid supporting cast - Edward Everett Horton is awesome as always, but Alan Mowbray in this comic role is also a delight. What an incredibly under-rated movie - definitely my favorite of all the many, many royalty-falls-in-love-with-commoner films.


King Alfred VII (Fernand Gravey) was deposed and now has little to do with himself but drink himself into oblivion and go to the Follies. His purposeless life is going to kill him if something doesn't happen soon. This something is one night when he does his typical routine---go to the Follies and get drunk. So how does it end up different and how does Dorothy (Joan Blondell) help him snap out of his ennui? And what do the ex-King's two most loyal retainers have to do with this?

This film has a most unusual writing team...Norma Krasna and Groucho Marx. Yes, THAT Groucho Marx! I had no idea he'd co-written a film. You really can't tell it has the Groucho touch, but it is a nice little romance. It also helps that Edward Everett Horton was there for support-- he's always grand in anything. Overall, cute and well worth seeing.


Joan Blondell is sexy, in a frumpy sort of way, and she somehow manages to be both pretty and ugly at the same time. Think of her as the Lisa Kudrow of her day. In this movie Joan acts opposite Fernand Gravet, Belgium's greatest import since waffles. Try not to think of him at all. And they both act opposite Edward Everett Horton, a whimsically asexual chap who elevated flittering to an art form. Think of him as the Jm J. Bullock of his day. But, of course, the actors are secondary to the screenwriter in this pleasantly forgettable film, as the man behind the typewriter was none other than Groucho Marx, the Groucho Marx of his day. Groucho's contributions to the screenplay are most noticeable near the beginning, in scenes of forced banter between Gravet and Horton, which only proves how unfunny Groucho the writer can be without Groucho the actor delivering the lines. If you're truly interested in how funny Groucho the writer can be, then avoid this film and read his autobiography Groucho and Me, or The Groucho Letters. If you want to see Joan Blondell in something good, rent A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. And if you absolutely must have a dose of Edward Everett Horton, watch Bullwinkle.


Growing up on the lower East Side of Manhattan in the 1890s and 1900s, with four energetic brothers (three ... or four who had some equal talent), a determined stage mother, and an uncle who was a Vaudeville God of the day (with his partner Mr. Gallagher), Groucho Marx lived long enough to achieve glory as one of the funniest men in history. He was always a bright man - mostly due to reading and self-help. With at least Harpo and Chico (and maybe Zeppo) he achieved what he should have due to talent.

But he would have disagreed. Groucho was the family intellectual - oddly enough. He read and studied the classics (which led to his becoming a lover of Gilbert & Sullivan, among other things). But he always wanted recognition of a talent which (surprisingly) he did not have - he thought of himself as a writer.

If Groucho had concentrated on writing there is a real chance that he would have been lost in the mainstream of also-rans of long ago. Unlike his long forgotten fifth brother Milton (Gummo) who did not like theater life and left the act in the early 1920s, Groucho did not recognize his limitations. It was a matter of ego, of course. Groucho had a witty repartee, and appreciated the works of Gilbert, Shakespeare, Kaufman and Hart, and Moliere. But he lacked their talent to write - he could shoot out quick jokes, polished by road trips in Vaudeville and the theater.

His fans mention a best seller he wrote in the 1930s, BEDS. Also some of his insulting letters. But BEDS is not read as much as say GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDS. The insult letters are funny, but inconsistent. Complaining to the Warners Brothers over the right of a film called A NIGHT IN CASABLANCA (which Warners felt imposed itself on their hit CASABLANCA), Groucho suddenly talks of who had the rights to the use of the word "Brothers" (Jack Warner and his siblings did not have their use of the name until after Groucho and his siblings). He brings up all references to the use of "Brothers" including the long forgotten 19th Century Baseball star Dan Brouthers. It's funny, but it is bypassing an interesting point that Jack Warner would have stuck to - that his movie's success was not meant to sell another film company's film.

Erudite and witty but inconsistent and weak. That's a good description of Groucho's literary "strengths".

Twice Groucho tried to break out as a serious dramatist/screenplay writer. Working with his friend the screenplay writer Norma Krasna (competent, but hardly earth-shaking), Groucho turned out this movie and the anemic TIME FOR ELIZABETH. They only show how wise it was that Minnie Marx was pushing Groucho's comic timing and acting ability, not his knowledge of the rules of English.

THE KING AND THE CHORUS GIRL (1937) was a topical film - about royalty marrying commoners for love - that was big due to the "Abdication Crisis" of 1936 of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. In reality though the subject was a bigger one than that at the time. One of the big scandals of the 1930s was the romance of King Carol of Roumania (who was married) and who fell for a pretty Jewish woman Magda Lupescu. In the end Carol abdicated his throne and married Magda (apparently it was a very successful marriage). The Constitutional issues of a mighty power were involved in the 1936 Abdication Crisis. Carol and Magda were from a much less powerful Balkan country. So they have been sort of forgotten except for a piece of doggerel:

"Said the beauteous Magda Lupescu, As the gentleman came to her rescue - 'Tis a far better thing to live under king - is Democracy better I ask you?"

In THE KING AND THE CHORUS GIRL, Fernand Gravey is an overthrown monarch who is rich and living in Paris (possible, but sounds too preposterous). He is wasting his life, and his aunt (Mary Nash) and former chancellor (Edward Everett Horton - suggesting why Gravey is an ex-monarch) want him to straighten out. One would think introduce him to other European royal houses (as he's rich he's a great catch). But he won't hear of it, so he goes on binges every night. Then he sees at the Folies Bergiere Joan Blondell (an American dancer) and she keeps rejecting his advances. This makes him curious, but he tries harder. For whatever inane rationale they have, Nash and Horton keep Blondell being stand-offish against Gravey so he could become more determined to marry her (why? why is she special?). She goes along, and even pretends a boyfriend (Alan Mowbray). Eventually, after going through the regulation twists of second rate love farce (the sort of things that the Brothers successfully spoofed in their films) matters do finally settle.

No film is totally without merit. I gave this a six out of ten because of some clever trick in the final section of the film dealing with an ocean liner, that was unexpected, and slightly charming - but also (oddly enough) a steal from an unexpected source: Buster Keaton's THE NAVIGATOR. Given Groucho's dislike of Keaton on GO WEST, this is probably by Krasna.

But there is a trace of asperity at times in Gravey's increasingly jealous ex-king. On board his yacht, Gravey is talking to an annoying (he's not trying to be) Mowbray. Clearly impatient, Gravey asks Mowbray if he can swim. Mowbray admits he cannot, and with Groucho like asperity Gravey asks if he would like to learn how to swim now or not. Mowbray makes a hasty exit. Somehow that line might have come from MONKEY BUSINESS or A NIGHT AT THE OPERA.


The awesome, beautiful Joan Blondell, in her glory days. The hilarious, whining Edward Horton as "The Count". and a script written by Groucho Marx! the weak link here is casting... The story is fun and clever, but I don't think Fernand Gravey (from Belgium) was the best choice for King Alfred. I DID enjoy the film, but he kind of slows things down. It's sort of a Roman Holiday bit, but in this case, it's the king that goes out and about on the town with "Dorothy" (Blondell). and with the usual twists, turns, and mis-understandings, Dorothy is now falling for the king. her friend Donald (Alan Mowbray) keeps butting in and goofing things up.