The trailer of Olivier Dahan’s Grace of Monaco is out. To open the Cannes Film Festival on May 14, the movie has the fine Australian actress, Nicole Kidman, playing Grace Kelly. Tim Roth will essay Prince Rainier III of Monaco.
Kelly was not just a Hollywood star, but a brilliant actor who had worked with legendary directors of her time, such as Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Charles Vidor and Fred Zinnemann. She met Prince Rainier III of Monaco (a principality within France, much like the Vatican in Italy) during the Cannes Film Festival in May 1955, when she was heading an American delegation to the glamorous annual event on the French Riviera.
And within a year, the two married, and Kelly settled down to a sedate existence within the four walls of the palace – far, far away from popping flashbulbs, bright red carpets, heady cocktail parties, handsome heroes and pulsating love affairs.
The movie trailer shows a sad princess yearning to return to all the excitement that Hollywood held, a life that kept beckoning her, urging her to return. And when Hitchcock sent Kelly a film script, titled Marnie (adapted from a Winston Graham novel) in 1962, it seemed that a splendid opportunity was knocking on the palace door. Rainier respected Hitchcock, and the two shared a great rapport. The prince said yes, and the princess was deliriously happy.
A still from Grace of Kelly.
But destiny had other things in store for her. Marine explored the theme of sexual complication, and Sean Connery was to act as her boyfriend and husband. Obviously, the people of Monaco
were aghast at the idea of seeing their darling princess kiss and make love to Connery on the screen. They protested. And Rainier could not ignore his subjects.
There was also a political storm brewing. The new French President, General De Gaulle, was angry with Monaco. Many of France’s colonists were repatriating money to the principality to avoid French taxation. De Gaulle remarked with biting sarcasm that Rainier was trying to earn money for his bankrupt Monaco by asking his wife to face the camera again.
All this was creating problems between the prince and the princess. The trailer shows Kelly accusing the prince, "Have you thought that de Gaulle is looking for any excuse to take Monaco, even if it means turning you against me?” Her husband then angrily jumps up at a table where the royal couple is seated with several others people.
What really appears tragic is Kelly longing to go back home and to the movie set she adored. "I can be a mother and a wife, and hold down two jobs without the people getting too upset, can't I?" an angry Kelly is shown saying at one point. Her driver whom she is talking to says the prince will never agree to this.
Later Kelly is seen telling a confidant, "I don't know how I'm going to keep living with him. I don't know how I'm going to spend the rest of my life in this place where I can't be me. And who is that?"
Grace Kelly is in tears, and like some other fairytale weddings that the world saw later, the one in Monaco crumbled. (Gautaman Bhaskaran will cover the Cannes Film Festival and may be emailed at email@example.com)