The King Steps Out

Exchanging Paramount and Dietrich for Columbia and Miss Grace Moore (as she is rather crassly credited), Sternberg's heart was all too obviously not in this adaptation of a Fritz Kreisler operetta. Moore, overdoing the skittish charm, plays Princess Elizabeth of Bavaria, who ends up in the arms of the Emperor Franz Josef (Tone) after intervening to save her sister (Inescort) - who loves a young officer (Jory) - from becoming his prearranged bride. Sternberg makes heavy weather of the comic opera conventions; he lumbers his star with several unflattering close-ups (notably when she sings: unusually, the songs were shot 'live'); and he gets his act together (his interest obviously captured by the bustling movement and quaint sideshow attractions of a rustic fair) only during a lengthy sequence in which the Emperor steps out incognito with the princess he believes to be a humble dressmaker. The rest is tasteless puff pastry for operetta buffs only.

Release details

Duration: 85 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Screenwriter: Sidney Buchman
Cast: Grace Moore
Franchot Tone
Walter Connolly
Raymond Walburn
Elizabeth Risdon
Frieda Inescort
Herman Bing
Victor Jory
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