Minutes before her wedding to Duke Otto Von Seibenheim, Countess Helene Mara flees, on a whim, to Monte Carlo, where she hopes her luck will save her poor financial state. There, Count ... See full summary »
In 19th century Russia,the idealistic officer Chernov is appointed chief of the Imperial Guard by the Empress Catherine the Great and navigates between the diplomacy of Grand Chancellor Nicolai Liyitch and the plots of the generals.
Minutes before her wedding to Duke Otto Von Seibenheim, Countess Helene Mara flees, on a whim, to Monte Carlo, where she hopes her luck will save her poor financial state. There, Count Rudolph Farriere is taken by her beauty, but she rebuffs him, not even looking at him. Assuming the guise of a hairdresser, he finally succeeds in seeing her, night and morning. Sparks fly, and love ensues - but can she love a lowly hairdresser? As her finances worsen though, the Duke arrives, and his money and social status seem even more enticing. Shunning Rudolph, will her story follow the operatic "unhappy ending", or can she have it all? Written by
One of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
Jeanette MacDonald is referred to as a blonde early on in the dialogue. She was actually a redhead, and no attempt was made to lighten her hair to make her look blonde. Her hair photographed the dark grey red hair usually reproduced as on the black-and-white film used in 1930. See more »
Even minor Lubitsch rates a 7. His comedic sensibility was unique in its poetry and effortless sophistication.
One doesn't expect an iron-clad plot in musical comedy, but MONTE CARLO's fails to fulfill even the minimal requirements of the genre. It simply makes no sense and creates no tension, erotic or otherwise. A nobleman falls for a runaway countess, and for absolutely no reason he pretends to be a commoner for the duration of the film.
Lubitsch is normally so good at plot construction, it's surprising that this one is so flat. Zasu Pitts, who can be so delightful, makes no impression here. Even the dialogue discouragingly fails to sparkle.
The film's other problem is the leading man, Jack Buchanan, who simply doesn't come across well on-camera and has absolutely no chemistry with MacDonald. Compared to the robust, lusty Maurice Chevalier in other Lubitsch/MacDonald films, Buchanan here is fey and sexless. MacDonald does her best, though, and acquits herself well.
No Lubitsch film is without its pleasures. It's worth seeing, but it's no MERRY WIDOW.
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