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 ...
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The small kingdom of Marshovia has a little problem. The main tax-payer, the wealthy widow Sonia (who pays 52 0f the taxes) has left for Paris So Count Danilo is sent to Paris, to stop her ... See full summary »
Edward Everett Horton
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. Its initial Los Angeles telecast took place Friday 29 January 1960 on The Late Show on KNXT (Channel 2), and in New York City it first aired on the Late Show Monday 5 December 1960 on WCBS (Channel 2). Both of these particular slots were usually reserved for the most vintage titles in each station's Paramount Library. The restored version of this film was first released on DVD 12 February 2008 as one of 4 features in Criterion's Lubitsch Musicals collection, and has since enjoyed occasional presentations on Turner Classic Movies. See more »
When Rudolph is leaving the Countess's boudoir after kissing her and depositing her on the chaise-lounge, the shadow of the microphone boom can be seen on the door. See more »
Certainly when you look at this film as a 1930 musical, the way that songs are integrated into the plot is a marvel, and it has a fluidity that belies the year it was made. That said, this is rather a chore to sit through, compared to the likes of The Smiling Lieutenant and One Hour With You, and despite the appeal of MacDonald in her early, earthy days, before she became partner to the eunuch Nelson Eddy.
There are three main culprits: first, a plot which just doesn't compare to the comedy-dramas of sexual tension and yearning that Lubitsch's best films offer. The others are fantasies, but this is flat out unbelievable, with too many mistaken identities, arbitrary shifts in attitude by the leading lady, and a lack of tension (since all of MacDonald's romantic choices are stinking rich). It's just impossible to care about. The second is leading man Jack Buchanan. It's not just that you can imagine Maurice Chevalier getting something innocently naughty out of the lines which might actually be charming, but as lightweight as he is, Buchanan seems too smart to believe what a doof-slash-stalker he's playing. Imagine Fred Astaire being replaced in Top Hat by Herbert Marshall, or maybe Paul Muni. And finally... at best the songs are unmemorable ditties cleverly staged. One, however, "Trimmin' the Women," could make the short list of worst movie numbers of the golden age of Hollywood. In short, be glad that Paramount compelled MacDonald and Chevalier (who she apparently disliked) to get back together in time for Love Me Tonight.
NOTE: Since viewing the film I have learned that the reels are misnumbered on nearly all surviving prints-- a fact which explains the otherwise baffling scene in the movie where Buchanan, who has already met MacDonald (IF you've seen it out of order), goes to work for her and she has no idea who he is. I'm not saying the movie would be radically better if it was in the correct order, but it would undoubtedly make somewhat more sense.
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