Laurence Olivier is the Carpathian prince visiting England for the coronation of George V. Marilyn Monroe is Elsie Marina, an American actress doing a musical review at a nearby theater. When an old flame of the prince's turns out to be Elsie's boss at the theater, their paths cross--and Elsie's determined not to let them uncross. After the prince confirms her worst fear--that he's interested only in a quick seduction--she nonetheless finds herself falling for him. As his mother-in-law takes a shine to Elsie, she finds herself attending every official function of the coronation--to the chagrin of the prince and her jealous boss. The crusty prince must decide whether to let love into his duty-bound life, and Elsie must decide if happily-ever-after ever really comes true. Olivier shines in his dour, bumbling straight-man role, while Monroe is at her charming, luminous, naive best.
This modern Cinderella story teams Marilyn Monroe with Laurence Olivier in an unlikely story of romance between a visiting European potentate and a lowly but attractive British showgirl. The English government, anxious to please the influential leader, helps push the two together--despite the beautiful young woman's confusion and protests in the early stages of the courtship.
Tension abounded on the set. Monroe was nervous and insecure at working with the legendary British actor; Olivier found her unprofessionalism and neediness tiresome; and Olivier's then-wife, Vivien Leigh, was consumed with jealousy throughout the production.
Monroe spends most of the film in a form-fitting, borderline-too-small white evening dress completely anachronistic to the period. (The film is set in 1911.)
In 1975, Britain's equivalent of the Tony awards were named the Oliviers.