AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Princess O'Rourke
Director: Norman Krasna (Dir)
Release Date:   23 Oct 1943
Production Date:   early Jul--late Aug 1942
Duration (in mins):   93-94
Duration (in feet):   8,484
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Cast:   Olivia de Havilland (Princess Maria, also known as Mary Williams)  
    Robert Cummings (Eddie O'Rourke)  
    Charles Coburn (Uncle)  
    Jack Carson (Dave)  
    Jane Wyman (Jean)  
    Harry Davenport (Supreme Court judge)  
    Gladys Cooper (Miss Haskell)  
    Minor Watson (Mr. Washburn)  
    Nan Wynn (Singer)  
    Curt Bois (Count Peter de Chandome)  
    Ray Walker (G-man)  
    David Clyde (Butler)  
    Nana Bryant (Mrs. Mulvaney)  
    Nydia Westman (Mrs. Bowers)  
    Ruth Ford (Clare Stillwell)  
    Julie Bishop (Stewardess)  
    Frank Puglia (Greek)  
    Rosina Galli (Greek's wife)  
    Ferike Boros (Mrs. Pulaski)  
    David Willock (Delivery boy)  
    John Dilson (Elevator man)  
    Ed Gargan (Stranger)  
    Frank Mayo (Businessman)  
    Ernie Anderson (Messenger)  
    Marjorie Hoshelle (Assistant)  
    Mary Field (Clara Stilwell)  
    Jody Gilbert (Woman truck driver)  
    Christian Rub (Janitor)  
    Chester Clute (Manager)  
    Emmett Vogan (G-man)  
    Roland Drew (Dispatcher)  
    Bill Kennedy (Dispatcher)  
    Jack Mower (Dispatcher)  
    Edgar Dearing (Guard)  
    Bill Edwards (Switchboard operator)  
    Catherine Price (Housekeeper)  
    Whiskers (Fala, the President's dog)  
    Vera Lewis    
    Harry C. Bradley    

Summary: Princess Maria, whose country has been invaded by the Nazis, lives with her uncle in exile in New York. Although Maria's uncle encourages her to marry Count Peter de Chandome, in the hope that she will produce a male heir, Maria does not like him. Worried by her lack of interest in life, Maria's uncle suggests a change of scene and books her under the name Mary Williams on an airplane flight to San Francisco. To overcome her fear of flying, Maria accidentally takes too many sleeping pills. Then, when bad flying conditions force the plane to return to New York, Maria cannot be awakened. Pilot Eddie O'Rourke offers to help her walk off the effects of the drugs, but a misguided cafĂ© owner, thinking all she needs is a good night's sleep, puts another sleeping pill in her coffee, and Maria passes out. With the help of Jean, the wife of Eddie's co-pilot Dave, Eddie puts Maria to bed in his apartment. The next day, Maria wakes to find several notes from Eddie asking her to meet him at 2:00 in front of the building. Maria returns to her hotel and tells her uncle that she spent the night in the ladies lounge at the airport. That afternoon, when she meets Eddie, she is followed by a Secret Service man who reports her activities to her uncle. Eddie, believing Maria to be a common war refugee, offers to show her New York. When she suggests that they have an ordinary date instead, Eddie introduces her to Dave and Jean. While the two men play handball, Maria and Jean spend the afternoon in a women's first aid class. Maria is embarrassed to admit that she has no skills, but volunteers to let the women practice their bandaging techniques on her. Later, after the two couples dine in a Chinese restaurant, Eddie proposes marriage. At first, Maria turns him down, but he forces her to admit that she wants to marry him. Meanwhile, Maria's uncle checks into Eddie's background and is pleased to learn that he is one of nine boys and that his father was one of eleven boys. He telephones Maria's father and convinces him that marriage to an American would be beneficial to their country. He then broaches the subject to Maria, who is delighted with the idea. When Eddie learns the truth about Maria, he is stunned but pleased that she will marry him. The wedding is to take place at the White House, and Mr. Washburn of the State Department uses the train trip to Washington, D.C. to give Eddie a crash course in royal diplomacy. Eddie begins to chafe under the requirements, however, and when he discovers that he will have to renounce his U.S. citizenship to marry Maria, he rebels. At the White House, he begs Maria to marry him and live as an ordinary citizen, but she cannot easily give up her role. Later, realizing that she is enslaved to her position, Maria uses the President's little dog to carry a letter to the President asking him to use his authority to help them. As a result, Maria and Eddie are quietly married by a Supreme Court justice. When Eddie expresses his hope that the guard who acted as their witness will not get in trouble, Maria explains that the "guard" was the President. 

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Production Text: A Hal B. Wallis Production
Brand Name: A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
Distribution Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Norman Krasna (Dir)
  Frank Heath (Asst dir)
Producer: Jack L. Warner (Exec prod)
Writer: Norman Krasna (Wrt)
Photography: Ernie Haller (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Max Parker (Art dir)
Film Editor: Warren Low (Film ed)
Set Decoration: James Hopkins (Set dec)
Costumes: Orry-Kelly (Gowns)
Music: Frederick Hollander (Mus)
  Leo F. Forbstein (Mus dir)
Sound: Stanley Jones (Sd)
Make Up: Perc Westmore (Makeup artist)
Production Misc: Eric Stacey (Unit mgr)
Country: United States

Songs: "Honorable Moon," music by Arthur Schwartz, lyrics by Ira Gershwin and E. Y. Harburg.
Composer: Ira Gershwin
  E. Y. Harburg
  Arthur Schwartz

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. 23/10/1943 dd/mm/yyyy LP12336

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

 
Genre: Romantic comedy
 
Subjects (Major): Air pilots
  Impersonation and imposture
  Princesses
  Romance
 
Subjects (Minor): Airplanes
  Dogs
  Flight attendants
  Hotels
  Imaginary lands
  Judges
  New York City
  Secret Service
  Sleeping potions
  Trains
  Uncles
  War refugees
  Washington (D.C.)
  Weddings
  World War II

Note: Norman Krasna's onscreen credit reads: "Written and directed by Norman Krasna." News items in HR add the following information about the production: Alexis Smith tested for the lead after Olivia De Havilland was suspended for refusing the part. Robert Cummings replaced Fred MacMurray when the latter dropped out of the film because of prior commitments to Paramount. Claude Rains was sought for a role in the film. The composers of "Honorable Moon" donated the money they received from Warner Bros. to a China Relief organization. Princess O'Rourke , which marked Krasna's directorial debut, was not released until a year after it finished shooting. Krasna won an Academy Award for his screenplay. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   25 Sep 1943.   
Daily Variety   21 Sep 43   p. 3, 6
Film Daily   21 Sep 43   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   23 Apr 42   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   5 Jun 42   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   24 Jun 42   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Jun 42   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Jul 42   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Sep 43   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Nov 43   p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald   25 Sep 1943.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   25 Sep 43   p. 1553.
New York Times   6 Nov 43   p. 16.
Variety   22 Sep 43   p. 12.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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