In Oslo, Norway, Jenny (who loves stalwart Chris) enters a dance marathon to help her embezzler brother out of a jam; her actions cause misunderstanding and Chris flees to a far northern mining camp. In despair, Jenny signs up as a "picture bride" who by tragic irony is promised to Chris's brother Olaf...at that same mining camp. Then Chris's rival Alberto arrives on a polar dirigible expedition. Which brother will join his voyage, perhaps to doom? Very stylized. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Only the edited 1937 re-release, running 67 minutes, with the original 2-strip Technicolor finale in black and white, was available for many years. But a complete print, running 79 minutes and including the Technicolor finale, survived at the George Eastman House. In 2011, it was run on Turner Classic Movies. See more »
THE LOTTERY BRIDE (1930), directed by Paul Stein, stars Jeanette MacDonald in her only film for United Artists, and the only movie ever produced by Arthur Hammerstein. In it, she plays Jennie, a young singer in the Yukon Case who must deny her true love, Chris (John Garrick) when she later becomes a lottery bride for his older brother, Olaf (Robert Chisholm). Also in the supporting cast are Carroll Nye as MacDonald's brother, Nels; Joseph Macauley and Paul Hurst, along with music by Rudolph Friml, J. Kerin Brennan, Carter Desmond, Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz.
American Movie Classics premiered this rarely seen antique July 1, 1996, as part of its fourth annual film preservation. Sorry to say this is far from the best movie Jeanette MacDonald ever appeared. Dialogue is laughable and acting style, especially from its co-stars, comes right out of the silent film era. There's some overly dramatic arm waving to specify my point. Maybe in silent movie form this might have proved better, with Vitaphone orchestration or piano scoring to guide it along. MacDonald sings two songs, a solo, "Yubla," and a duet with John Garrick titled, "The Northern Light." Other songs, including those sung by others, "You're an Angel," "I'll Follow the Trail," are easily forgettable. Comedy "relief" supplied by Joe E. Brown (on loan from Warner Brothers) and ZaSu Pitts helps some, but not enough to save it as a whole. Theatrically released at 80 minutes, VHS copies from Blackhawk video is clocked at 75 minutes minus the original early Technicolor finish. The AMC presentation, however, was taken from a 1930s 65 minute reissue that eliminates Joe E. Brown and Harry Gribbon's number, "Strong Men," and other scenes involving Brown and Pitts towards its second half. This edited form is the one that has turned up a decade later on DVD. Fortunately when THE LOTTER BRIDE turned up on Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere: December 14, 2011), it not only presented the film at close to original length but the restoration of its missing Technicolor finish as well.
Regardless of good premise weakened by song interludes and inane dialog, I'm glad AMC and later TCM showed it anyway. A real curio for fans of early sound musicals or a chance to watch Jeanette MacDonald in her pre-MGM era. Otherwise, "let it lay."(**)
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