Thirty Day Princess is a lighthearted comedy starring Sylvia Sidney, Cary Grant, and Edward Arnold. The film is an adaptation based on the story “Thirty Day Princess” by Clarence Budington Kelland. Luckily, much of Kelland’s pleasant and congenial humor is preserved within the film which is further supported by a talented cast.
In the film, Sylvia Sidney plays dual roles as Princess Catterina of the fabled kingdom, Taronia and an out of work actress from New York City, Nancy Lane. We learn that the princesses father, King Anatole (Henry Stephenson) and banker, Richard Gresham (Edward Arnold), met and made specific arrangements while in a mud bath! The king and princess, in an effort to help their impoverished country, make arrangements with Gresham to acquire $50 million in bonds. Upon her arrival in New York City, the princess falls ill with the mumps, and must be quarantined. In a desperate act, Gresham finds an out of work actress, whom happens to look exactly like Catterina, to impersonate the princess so the transaction can be completed. He also offers Nancy a large bonus if she is able to change the mind of newspaper publisher, Porter Madison III (Cary Grant), who is highly in opposition of the financial agreement.
The film has many moments of lighthearted fun including a moment when Nancy toasts to all of the kings she insists are in are blood line, and tosses are glass over her shoulder. Soon, her company follows suit and the laughs ensue as her toasting “ceremony” becomes a costly celebration. Of course, the unknowing Madison falls for the charming actress as the film progresses. The film closes with the truth coming to fruition, and Princess Catterina showing Madison that he should be thankful that Nancy is not the real princess because their romance would never be allowed, and he could never marry her. Luckily, Madison forgives Lane, and their final kiss is spectacular.
Thirty Day Princess is a perfect example of a screwball comedy that was vastly more successful in later years as opposed to it’s initial release. The film is lighthearted, fun, and ending that leaves a smile on your face. Cary Grant and Sylvia Sidney both deliver exceptional performances while making a most handsome couple.