| Run Time: 112 min. | colour
Director: Charles Vidor
Stars: Grace Kelly, Alec Guinness, Louis Jourdan, Agnes Moorehead
Genres: Comedy | Romance | Drama
In Grace Kelly’s penultimate film, she portrays the pivotal role. The story itself revolves around Hungary’s Crown Prince Albert’s required selection of a wife, and the intrigues surrounding his reluctant search. All in sumptuous Technicolor!
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Delightful, witty screenplay. A collection of perfectly constructed moments of awkwardness, beautifully photographed by Ruttenberg and Surtees (who did Oklahoma, The Graduate and Last Time i Saw Paris between them) and perfectly shot by Charles Vidor. A fun performance by Alec Guinness as Prince Albert who visits Grace Kelly’s princess on a tour of all the princesses in the country, in search of a wife. Louis Jordan, as the young professor, contender for the princess’s affections, is very good and looks like a young Colin Firth.
Grace Kelly looks lovelier than ever, and is quite excellent in the role of her life – the role she played for the statesmen of Hollywood. She was just a little girl from Philadelphia who looked like a princess, so they asked her to learn to speak like a princess. And she did. They sent her tapes of elegant speech, and gave her tuition in elegance – and she played the part perfectly. The fun, flirtatious girl she was remained hidden from the public by the press, who in those days co-operated with the Hollywood political establishment. For all the public knew, Grace Kelly was merely a beautiful, elegant woman who played herself on screen. This was not the case. Like Humphrey Bogart, she was not originally like her on screen persona, but like Cary Grant, she eventually became it – through outside circumstance, when she was proposed to by Prince Rainier of Monaco, who met her on a publicity stunt visit. Here, Grace took the elegant persona of Dial M for Murder and Rear Window a step further, anticipating what it would be like to be an actual princess. In less than a year she would know from personal experience, but in The Swan she predicts the feeling perfectly, coming off looking completely genuine. She depicts the confusion of the princess beautifully, the awkwardness and uncertainty despite best intentions. She reveals her feelings at once in the "box him on the ears" speech beautifully – watch her eyes. Such a tender, genuine moment.
I read a review proclaiming Grace Kelly was a young girl from Wisconsin, who made a hit in Hollywood, and became a real life princess. The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native met her Prince at a photo match arranged by Paris Match in Monte Carlo, Monaco. She later transcended the realm of film and married the reigning prince of one of Europe’s oldest principalities. Grace Kelly, later HSH Princess Grace of Monaco was as lovely as she was talented. She totally restructured Hollywood, giving it an old world elegance. This is the same charming appeal she brought to the film, "The Swan." She plays Princess Alexandra who finds herself torn between obeying her overpowering mother and marrying her cousin, Prince Albert, or following the dictates of her own heart. The battle for her heart is waged by two dashing gentlemen, the prince, Alec Guinness, and the poor but respectable tutor, Louis Jourdan. It is a movie that is entertaining and for those with a romantic disposition!
Before her marriage to Prince Rainier, Grace Kelly made this next-to-last film for M-G-M, the royalty (though, alas, in somewhat of a decline from its glory days) of Hollywood’s studio "system." I thought it, along with "High Society," a graceful exit for the lovely Miss Kelly, and M-G-M surrounded her with thorough professionals both before and behind the CinemaScope cameras. I especially enjoyed Alec Guinness, Jessie Royce Landis, and the wonderful Estelle Winwood, as well as Brian Aherne and Louis Jourdan. It’s not available on DVD (and may possibly never be) and, I fear, the VHS version is formatted to fit the full screens of non-widescreen TVs. Too bad…It’s a handsome production which, no doubt, won’t visually impress very much when diminished by, ugh!, "formatting." What’s wrong with "letterboxing," may I ask? Maybe it’s the word itself!
A lovely movie!! Starring the lovely Grace Kelly (Princess Alexandra), the wonderful actor Alec Guinness (Prince Albert), and last but not least, the young and wonderful dashing Louis Jourdan (Tutor/Professor, Nicholas Agi), the trio knows how to make a lovely film. Alexandra is to be married to the Prince, to restore the lost throne, and then at a Ball, she falls inlove with Nicholas while dancing with him. She has to make a hard choice; either marry the man she loves, or become a queen with Prince Albert. There are funny parts, allot of Royalty, and is beautifully filmed, and a really good movie. 2 thumbs up!!