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In Italy in 1939, a man calling himself Mr. Imperium (Ezio Pinza) uses a ruse to meet an attractive American woman, Frederica Brown (Lana Turner). Eventually he is revealed to be Prince Alexis, an heir to the throne and a widower with a six-year-old son. He nicknames her “Fredda,” so she calls him “Al.”
When his father becomes ill, he must rush to be with him, but asks prime minister Bernand (Cedric Hardwicke) to deliver to Fredda a note of explanation. Bernand instead tells her the prince is gone for good, that this is his usual method of seducing and abandoning women.
Twelve years go by. One day in Paris, a cinema’s marquee makes it clear that “Fredda Barlo” is now a movie star. Fredda’s former love travels to California, where film producer Paul Hunter (Barry Sullivan) is now in love with her and proposing marriage.
Fredda decides to drive to Palm Springs to think about his proposal, as well as to decide which actor should co-star in her next film, about a girl who falls in love with a king. Mr. Imperium takes a room next to hers, and soon they meet and embrace. Now he wants a new life, and Fredda believes he could even portray a king in her film.
Mr. Imperium finds out that he’s needed elsewhere, so he must say goodbye to the woman he loves once more.