The Princess Comes Across (1936)
Paramount Pictures uses the tried and true backdrop of a ship crossing the ocean on it’s way to North America for an excuse to join frequent co stars Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray together in one of their four co starring features during the mid thirties. This time out Carole is a Swedish Princess on her way to America to become a motion picture star and continue her life of luxury. When asked who her favorite movie star is, she seductively responds Mickey Mooose. As for Fred, he’s a band leader on his way home after a tour on the European continent. Our stars first cross paths quite innocently. Fred has the Royal suite and ships Captain George Barbier is trying to convince him to give it up to the Swedish Princess but Fred isn’t budging. Well, not until he gets a look at the Swedish beauty.
As it turns out we have a blackmailer aboard and all might not be as it seems including our leading players. Things get real prickly when the blackmailer turns up dead in Lombard’s suite. From here the film takes a surprising turn to the who done it genre. Sig Ruman and Mischa Auer are among our on board detectives who are out to unveil the killer and fingers are pointing at Carole. What’s Fred to do? I’m not telling but have a strong suspicion you’ll figure it out.
For his stint as a bandleader Fred even sings a lively song in this one and has great support from William Frawley as his go to guy for all things legal or illegal if necessary. Frawley is always a welcome sight on any cast list as are most of the faces who fill out the characters making the ocean crossing on the Paramount back lot. He would of course go on to be a cast member of Fred’s My Three Sons years later.
Once again Fred MacMurray proves he could play light comedy or get tough when needed. He was a great go to guy when casting directors were looking for someone to play opposite most of the leading ladies of the era. Lombard gets plenty of costume changes which was customary for the times and one can’t help but feel cheated every time you see her in a film due to her tragic passing. She had so much more to give us.