King Ralph (1991)

PG | 97 mins | Comedy, Romance | 15 February 1991

Director:

David S. Ward

Writer:

David S. Ward

Producer:

Jack Brodsky

Cinematographer:

Kenneth MacMillan

Editor:

John Jympson

Production Designer:

Simon Holland

Production Companies:

Mirage, JBRO
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HISTORY

On 25 Jan 1990, DV announced that John Goodman had agreed to star in the Sydney Pollack-backed picture, which was scheduled to begin production in Apr 1990. The 1 May 1990 HR production chart confirmed that principal photography began on 17 Apr 1990 at Pinewood Studios, U.K.
       The film is a broad comedy and not intended to represent Great Britain’s royal family. A 15 Feb 1991 article in the LADN indicated that filmmakers took care to inform British officials about the production. In response to the script, royal spokespersons requested that the name “Windsor” not be used in the picture. Accordingly, King Ralph’s royal family was given the fictitious name “Wyndham.” Officials also requested that filmmakers refrain from casting Prince Charles and Lady Diana “look-alikes.” Similar restrictions were placed on the film’s opening sequence, in which the royal family is accidentally electrocuted. Palace administrators asked that no children appear in that scene.
       Although the film is set in Buckingham Palace, other English mansions and stately buildings doubled for the royal residence, which rarely permits filming. Production notes in AMPAS library files indicate that the following locations were used for exterior photography: Harewood House in Yorkshire, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, and Somerset House in London. Interior scenes were filmed at Hever Castle in Kent and Syon House in West London. Filmmakers used the Waterloo Gallery at Aspley House, London, to suggest the palace’s royal portrait hall. A 12 Aug 1990 NYT article noted several other locations used for interior photography, including Lancaster House in London, Hagley Hall in Worcestershire, and Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire. A budget of $20 million ... More Less

On 25 Jan 1990, DV announced that John Goodman had agreed to star in the Sydney Pollack-backed picture, which was scheduled to begin production in Apr 1990. The 1 May 1990 HR production chart confirmed that principal photography began on 17 Apr 1990 at Pinewood Studios, U.K.
       The film is a broad comedy and not intended to represent Great Britain’s royal family. A 15 Feb 1991 article in the LADN indicated that filmmakers took care to inform British officials about the production. In response to the script, royal spokespersons requested that the name “Windsor” not be used in the picture. Accordingly, King Ralph’s royal family was given the fictitious name “Wyndham.” Officials also requested that filmmakers refrain from casting Prince Charles and Lady Diana “look-alikes.” Similar restrictions were placed on the film’s opening sequence, in which the royal family is accidentally electrocuted. Palace administrators asked that no children appear in that scene.
       Although the film is set in Buckingham Palace, other English mansions and stately buildings doubled for the royal residence, which rarely permits filming. Production notes in AMPAS library files indicate that the following locations were used for exterior photography: Harewood House in Yorkshire, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, and Somerset House in London. Interior scenes were filmed at Hever Castle in Kent and Syon House in West London. Filmmakers used the Waterloo Gallery at Aspley House, London, to suggest the palace’s royal portrait hall. A 12 Aug 1990 NYT article noted several other locations used for interior photography, including Lancaster House in London, Hagley Hall in Worcestershire, and Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire. A budget of $20 million was listed.
       On 31 Dec 1990, Var reported that the film’s ending was being rewritten, with cast and crew scheduled to return to London in Jan 1991 to shoot the new scenes. A mere six weeks later, King Ralph screened on 11 Feb 1991 at the Cineplex Odeon Universal City Cinemas, Universal Studios. The film received widespread theatrical release four days later, on 15 Feb 1991.
       End credits include the following statement: “Filmed on location and at Pinewood Studios, London, England.”
       The first name of composer Georges Auric is misspelled “George” in end credits. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
25 Jan 1990
p. 1, 45.
Daily Variety
13 Feb 1991
p. 2, 18.
Hollywood Reporter
1 May 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Feb 1991
p. 6, 16.
Los Angeles Daily News
15 Feb 1991
p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
15 Feb 1991
p. 10.
New York Times
12 Aug 1990
Section A, p. 11.
New York Times
15 Feb 1991
Section C, p. 10.
Variety
31 Dec 1990.
---
Variety
18 Feb 1991
p. 69.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Universal Pictures presents
a Mirage/JBRO production
a David S. Ward film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Co-prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Focus puller
Clapper loader
Cam grip
Cam trainee
Elec best boy
Still photog
Lighting equip supplied by
Wescam provided by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dept asst
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Assoc ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Ed trainee
Post prod supv
Negative cutter
Post prod facility provided by
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Draughtsman
Draughtswoman
Draughtswoman
Const mgr
Const supv
Chargehand carpenter
Chargehand carpenter
Chargehand carpenter
Chargehand stagehand
Supv painter
Chargehand painter
Chargehand rigger
Master sculptor
Sculptor
Sculptor
Prop master
Chargehand propman
Chargehand stand-by propman
Stand-by propman
Chargehand dressing props
Chargehand dressing props
Dressing prop
Dressing prop
Prop buyer
Drapes master
Standby const
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus asst
Scoring mixer
Scoring cond
Supv scoring coord
Score rec eng
Score rec eng
Mus contractor
Mus clearances
Mus clearances
SOUND
Sd des
Boom op
Sd maintenance
Sd trainee
Supv sd ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Sd eff ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley mixer
Sd eff rec
Asst sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec
Re-rec
Re-rec at/Sd eff by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Titles and opticals by
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup
Hairdressing supv
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Prod coord
Scr supv
Casting asst
Prods' asst (U.K.)
Asst to David Ward
Asst to the prods
Asst to the prods
Asst to the prods
Asst to the prods
Prod runner
Post prod runner
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Cam car
Prod accountant
Post prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Accounts secy
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Headlong by Emlyn Williams (London, 1980).
SONGS
"Good Golly Miss Molly," end title performance by Little Richard, produced by Jeff Lynne
"Tiny Bubbles," written by Leon Pober, performed by John Goodman
"Be-Bop A-Lula," written by Gene Vincent and Sheriff Tex Davis
+
SONGS
"Good Golly Miss Molly," end title performance by Little Richard, produced by Jeff Lynne
"Tiny Bubbles," written by Leon Pober, performed by John Goodman
"Be-Bop A-Lula," written by Gene Vincent and Sheriff Tex Davis
Song from Moulin Rouge, "Where Is Your Heart," written by William Engvick and George Auric
"I'm In The Mood For Love," written by Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh
"Good Golly Miss Molly," written by Robert Blackwell and John Marascalco, performed by John Goodman
"Duke Of Earl," written by Earl Edwards, Eugene Dixon and Bernice Williams, performed by John Goodman.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 February 1991
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 15 February 1991
New York opening: week of 15 February 1991
Production Date:
began 17 April 1990
addl photog January 1991
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
6 May 1991
Copyright Number:
PA525902
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Originated on Eastman Colour Film from Kodak
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® cameras & lenses
Duration(in mins):
97
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30945
SYNOPSIS

At Buckingham Palace in London, England, the British royal family waits out a rainstorm before having their photograph taken on the palace lawn. However, puddles of water cause the photographer’s electrical cables to short circuit, and every member of the House of Wyndham is electrocuted. In wake of the tragedy, Parliament consults genealogical records, searching for a rightful successor. They learn of a liaison between an American woman and a British duke, which resulted in the birth of a son. Though now deceased, that man is survived by a son, Ralph Jones, an American lounge singer. Two British officials travel to Las Vegas, Nevada, to inform the uncouth musician that he is the new King of England. On arriving in London, Ralph meets Sir Cedric Willingham, the royal secretary. Willingham is dismayed at Ralph’s casual attire and flippant attitude, but takes it upon himself to instruct the American in appropriate royal protocol. In the picture gallery, Ralph admires his grandfather’s portrait, while Willingham recapitulates several hundred years of British history. At the end of the day, Ralph retires to his sumptuous bedroom apartment, impressed by the imperial crown placed next to his bed. Willingham wryly advises Ralph to practice wearing the weighty headpiece. The next morning, Sir Willingham meets with the Prime Minister and Lord Percival Graves at 10 Downing Street. Graves, disgusted at the thought of an American sovereign, suggests reinstating the House of Stewart’s claim to the throne. Willingham notes that such an act would position Percival Graves to be king. Meanwhile, Ralph leaves Buckingham Palace and visits a strip club, where he falls head over heels in love with a stripper who is too shy to ... +


At Buckingham Palace in London, England, the British royal family waits out a rainstorm before having their photograph taken on the palace lawn. However, puddles of water cause the photographer’s electrical cables to short circuit, and every member of the House of Wyndham is electrocuted. In wake of the tragedy, Parliament consults genealogical records, searching for a rightful successor. They learn of a liaison between an American woman and a British duke, which resulted in the birth of a son. Though now deceased, that man is survived by a son, Ralph Jones, an American lounge singer. Two British officials travel to Las Vegas, Nevada, to inform the uncouth musician that he is the new King of England. On arriving in London, Ralph meets Sir Cedric Willingham, the royal secretary. Willingham is dismayed at Ralph’s casual attire and flippant attitude, but takes it upon himself to instruct the American in appropriate royal protocol. In the picture gallery, Ralph admires his grandfather’s portrait, while Willingham recapitulates several hundred years of British history. At the end of the day, Ralph retires to his sumptuous bedroom apartment, impressed by the imperial crown placed next to his bed. Willingham wryly advises Ralph to practice wearing the weighty headpiece. The next morning, Sir Willingham meets with the Prime Minister and Lord Percival Graves at 10 Downing Street. Graves, disgusted at the thought of an American sovereign, suggests reinstating the House of Stewart’s claim to the throne. Willingham notes that such an act would position Percival Graves to be king. Meanwhile, Ralph leaves Buckingham Palace and visits a strip club, where he falls head over heels in love with a stripper who is too shy to complete her striptease. After the show, Ralph goes backstage to meet the embarrassed woman, whose name is Miranda. He introduces himself as the King of England, and asks her out on a date, but Miranda thinks he is joking. The next morning, Miranda sees a television news report about Ralph’s royal lineage, but before she can learn more, Lord Graves knocks on her door. Having learned of Miranda’s encounter with Ralph, he pressures her to have an affair with the new king, certain that the resulting scandal would force Ralph to abdicate the throne. Miranda recognizes Graves’s ploy, but she cannot turn down the extraordinary amount of money he offers. Meanwhile, Ralph meets the Prime Minister, who makes a long-winded speech about hosting a reception for the King of Zambezi, Africa. When Ralph falls asleep, the Prime Minister expresses dismay at the thought of introducing an African dignitary to the imbecile king. Later, Willingham curtails Ralph’s plans to go out with Miranda, but the king insists, and Miranda is allowed to come to Buckingham Palace for dinner. The next day, Willingham cautions Ralph about getting romantically involved with a commoner, but the king protests they are just friends. The secretary agrees to let the friendship continue, so long as the couple does not go out in public. A few days later, photographers take pictures of Miranda as she leaves the palace, and Willingham advises Ralph to stop seeing her. That afternoon, Ralph prepares to meet King Mulambon of Zambezi. He falters while delivering his welcome speech, and invites the African king to play a game of darts at the local pub. Mulambon enjoys Ralph’s carefree attitude, and the diplomatic visit is declared a success. Although public opinion of the new king soars, Ralph confesses to Willingham that the royal job is a lonely one. One night, Ralph sneaks out of the palace and invites Miranda to meet him. Lord Graves sends a photographer after the couple, and Ralph unwittingly poses for the picture, his arm wrapped around his girl friend. Miranda thwarts the photographer and leads Ralph to a park gazebo, where they kiss. Sometime later, Willingham and the king retreat to Windsor Castle with the Prime Minister, who discusses the importance of a political alliance with Finland, which has recently discovered untapped oil resources. The British officials inform Ralph that he will meet Finland’s Princess Anna and take steps toward marrying her. Indignant at being treated like a puppet, Ralph “quits” being king. Willingham challenges Ralph to consider the greater good, and Ralph agrees to host a ball in the Princess’s honor. On the day of the Finnish royal visit, Lord Graves deceives Miranda into thinking Ralph has invited her to the ball. Meanwhile, Ralph meets Princess Anna and is impressed by her beauty. However, he soon realizes they have nothing in common. At the ball, they go out on the balcony to talk, and Anna shocks the king with a sexual proposition. Ralph decides to liven the party by performing a rousing rendition of a rock and roll song on the harpsichord. Midway through his act, he notices Miranda among the guests and invites her to dance. Just then, the King of Finland receives an envelope containing photographs of Ralph and Miranda kissing in the gazebo. At the end of the song, Princess Anna demands to know about Ralph’s relationship to Miranda. Tongue-tied, Ralph cannot offer an explanation, causing Miranda and the royal guests to leave. The next day, the media ridicules the new king, and Lord Graves urges Parliament to oust the American. Determined to make amends, Ralph finds Miranda at her mother’s house. There, she confesses that Lord Graves bribed her to put Ralph in compromising situations. An angry Ralph returns to Buckingham Palace and confronts Willingham about the true story behind his ascent to the throne. Willingham confesses that he, too, is the result of an illegitimate affair between a royal and a commoner, and nearly equal to Ralph in terms of succession. However, he had no interest in being king. Ralph thanks the secretary for his honesty. At Parliament the next day, King Ralph apologizes for his recent gaffes, before renouncing his title as King of England to Sir Cedric Willingham. Having finally won England’s approval, Ralph locates Miranda and asks if they can start over. She leaps into his arms. Sometime later, King Cedric awards Ralph a dukedom. Ralph forms a band, “The Dukettes,” and lives happily ever after with Miranda and their son, Ralph II. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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