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The King Steps Out (1936)

Princess is destined to marry the Emperor, until her sister steps in.


Sidney Buchman, Ernst Decsey (play) | 2 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
Grace Moore ... Princess Elizabeth / Cissy (as Miss Grace Moore)
Franchot Tone ... Emperor Franz Josef
Walter Connolly ... Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria
Raymond Walburn ... Col. Von Kempen
Elisabeth Risdon ... Grand Duchess Sofia
Nana Bryant ... Louise
Victor Jory ... Capt. Palfi
Frieda Inescort ... Princess Helena
Thurston Hall ... Major
Herman Bing ... Pretzelberger
George Hassell George Hassell ... Herlicka
Johnny Arthur ... Chief of the Secret Police (as John Arthur)


The film depicts the courtship of Princess Elisabeth of Bavaria (1837-1898), nicknamed "Sisi", by her cousin Franz Joseph I of Austria (1830-1916, reigned 1848-1916). The complication is that Franz Joseph was originally engaged to Elisabeth's older sister Duchess Helene in Bavaria (1834-1890), nicknamed "Néné". The film depicts events from 1852 to 1854. Written by Dimos I

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

28 May 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sissy See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Gwen Verdon. See more »


The Emperor's carriage is unoccupied when it first appears entering the palace but is occupied when it stops. See more »


Barker at Shooting Gallery: Well, we all know the emporer plays second fiddle.
See more »


Learn How To Lose
(Based on the Composer's "Caprice Viennois")
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Music by Fritz Kreisler
Copyright 1936 Carl Fischer, Inc.
Sung by Grace Moore
See more »

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User Reviews

An enjoyable romantic comedy - but not really a musical
14 August 2014 | by richard-1787See all my reviews

I've always liked Grace Moore in movies, though I'm not quite sure why. She wasn't the greatest singer, and she had some annoying vocal mannerisms. But she certainly sang with enthusiasm, and that is probably what I've enjoyed about her film appearances.

Sometimes, as in her first success, One Night of Love, the singing was spirited but her delivery of dialog often stilted. That's not the case in this movie. She really comes across most often as very comfortable and natural, qualities that her co-star, Franchot Tone, had in spades. That, I think, is what makes this movie work for me. They are very good in their scenes together, very believable.

What remains a problem for me is the musical aspect of this movie. Others have complained that the songs aren't memorable. For me some are, like The Old Refrain, others not. But the big problem, for me, is that all the musical numbers, with the exception of one march, are vocal solos for Moore. (The march is sung by a men's chorus with Moore singing over them.) Because none of the other characters ever join in the singing, the musical numbers seem isolated from the rest of the picture, and it comes off less as a musical than as a romantic comedy with inserted songs. If you contrast it with a Jeannette MacDonald/Nelson Eddy or Maurice Chevalier picture from the same era, you see the difference.

The plot, as Viennese operettas go, isn't bad. The supporting actors are all good, though I agree that a little of Herman Bing goes a long way, and there is more than a little of him here.

All in all, an agreeable romantic comedy, with inserted songs that don't do anything to advance the story and could, indeed, be cut out without any loss in most cases.

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