Showgirls [1995]

Destined to remain a curio in the careers of Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier, The Prince and the Showgirl is a good movie that might have been great. While's she's wonderful as a saucy showgirl with a knack for foreign relations, Monroe's off-screen notoriety in 1957 made this a directorial nightmare for Olivier, who never bursts out of his stiff-collared finery as the Carpathian Prince Regent, who's smitten by Marilyn's innocent, unpolished candor. Of course, she's actually smarter than the monocled monarch, at least in her sensible handling of his stuffed-shirt diplomacy, so it's easy to forgive Terence Rattigan's script (from his play The Sleeping Prince) for favoring pomp over circumstance. The comedy percolates without bubbling over in this tale of opposites attracting, but it's a top-drawer production anyway, blessed by Jack Cardiff's gorgeous Technicolor cinematography and by the charm of costars who successfully concealed their off-screen anxieties. --Jeff Shannon

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