This-week the Fine Arts presents "The Merry Monarch," a whimsical tale of the mythical Kingdom of Trypheme. Not charted on any map and thus unknown to the rest of the world, this little island carries on an idyllic existence which is perhaps best represented in the person of its ruler, Emil Jannings. He has 366 wives, one for each day in the year. In sumptuous palaces and on a sizeable yacht, beloved by all his subjects, beset by no problems of state, this merry monarch lives for pleasure alone.
The story is adapted from the novel by Pierre Louys, "Les Aventures du Roi Pausole." When the picture opens, the island is already dominated by Taxis, the King's eunuch, who has introduced a strict regime of order and repression. Then a young aviator blunders upon the place and naturally falls in love with Pausole's daughter. To escape Taxis' prying eyes, she flees from the palace and is followed by the aviator. Setting out, ostensibly to find his daughter, the King discovers that one wife is better than 366, especially if that one be the lovely Sidney Fox. The remaining wives revolt and expel Taxis, his governesses, his police, and his guns. So the kingdom is again left to live by its simple code of (1) don't offend your neighbor, and (2) otherwise do as you like.
Meaningless, except perhaps as an ideal to be emulated by real countries, the picture is none the less amusing, Jannings shows considerable talent as a light comedian, and the other players do their bits adequately. The British have successfully imitated the unique German style in photography and plot treatment. In short, "The Merry Monarch" is a restful evening's diversion.