7.8/10
2,629
32 user 22 critic

The Smiling Lieutenant (1931)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance, Musical | 1 August 1931 (USA)
An amorous lieutenant is forced to marry a socially awkward princess, though he tries to keep his violin-playing girlfriend on the side.

Director:

Writers:

(operetta), (operetta) (as Felix Dörmann) | 3 more credits »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The queen of mythical Sylvania marries a courtier, who finds his new life unsatisfying.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Lupino Lane
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An unhappily married couple try to come between a happy one.

Directors: Ernst Lubitsch, George Cukor
Stars: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Genevieve Tobin
Monte Carlo (1930)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

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 »

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Jeanette MacDonald, Jack Buchanan, Claud Allister
Certificate: Passed Musical | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

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 »

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Edward Everett Horton
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A woman cannot decide between two men who love her, and the trio agree to try living together in a platonic friendly relationship.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Fredric March, Gary Cooper, Miriam Hopkins
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A gentleman thief and a lady pickpocket join forces to con a beautiful perfume company owner. Romantic entanglements and jealousies confuse the scheme.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Herbert Marshall
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Bea Pullman and her daughter Jessie have had a hard time making ends meet since Bea's husband died. Help comes in the form of Delilah Johnson, who agrees to work as Bea's housekeeper in ... See full summary »

Director: John M. Stahl
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Warren William, Rochelle Hudson
Bad Girl (1931)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A man and woman, skeptical about romance, nonetheless fall in love and are wed, but their lack of confidence in the opposite sex haunts their marriage.

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: James Dunn, Sally Eilers, Minna Gombell
Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Against her better judgement, happily married Jill Baker is persuaded to see a popular psychoanalyst about her psychosomatic hiccups. Soon, she's disillusioned about husband Larry; and one ... See full summary »

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Merle Oberon, Melvyn Douglas, Burgess Meredith
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An investigative reporter sees an opportunity for the story of a lifetime when an accused murderer escapes hanging.

Director: Lewis Milestone
Stars: Adolphe Menjou, Pat O'Brien, Mary Brian
The Patriot (1928)
Drama

In 18th-Century Russia, the Czar, Paul, is surrounded by murderous plots and trusts only Count Pahlen. Pahlen wishes to protect his friend, the mad king, but because of the horror of the ... See full summary »

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Emil Jannings, Lewis Stone, Florence Vidor
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

During the World War II housing shortage in Washington, two men and a woman share a single apartment and the older man plays Cupid to the other two.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Franzi
...
Princess Anna
...
Max (as Charlie Ruggles)
...
King Adolf XV
Hugh O'Connell ...
Niki's Orderly
Edit

Storyline

Lieutenant Niki of the Austrian royal guard has a new girlfriend, Franzi. He's crazy about her and is smiling at her while on duty in the street. King Adolf and his daughter Princess Anna from the neighboring kingdom of Flausenthurm drive by, and Anna intercepts a wink meant for Franzi. She falls for Niki, marries him (he has no choice in the matter), and whisks him off to Flausenthurm. Franzi follows and enjoys a brief affair with Niki before Anna finds out. Franzi, much more experienced in the ways of the world, gives Anna lessons on how to win the affections of her husband. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

1 August 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El teniente seductor  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(cut) | (original)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The operetta by Felix Dormann and Leopold Jacobson opened in Leipzig, Germany, on 31 May 1907. An English version, entitled "A Waltz Dream", with music by Oscar Straus and English book by Joseph W. Herbert, opened in New York City, New York, USA, on 27 January 1908 and ran for 111 performances. It is not known if any of Straus' music from that production was used in this film. The songs, however, had a new lyricist and new titles. See more »

Goofs

In the latter part of the movie Chevalier bounds up a grand staircase painted to appear as marble but the loud clomp-clomp-clomp of his shoes reveals it to be just wood. See more »

Quotes

Franzi: [singing] Jazz up your lingerie!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Complicated Women (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Jazz Up Your Lingerie
(1931)
Music by Oscar Straus
Lyrics by Clifford Grey
Played on piano by Claudette Colbert and Miriam Hopkins and sung by both
Reprised on piano by Hopkins
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Awesomely immoral, one of Lubitsch's finest musicals
31 March 2003 | by (Ottawa) – See all my reviews

Lubitsch's third great musical is perhaps his most immoral, along with "One Hour With You". The screenplay by Ernest Vajda and Samson Raphaelson is replete with the occasional Lubitschian double entendres and naughtiness. The film often recalls the lilting grace of Lubitsch's "The Love Parade" but it also looks ahead to the ironic romantic triangle of Lubitsch's lauded masterpiece "Trouble in Paradise".

Here, Chavalier's Lieutenant Niki is torn between an aristocratic princess Anna (Miriam Hopkins) and a working class violinist Franzi (Claudette Colbert), the same way Herbert Marshall's Gaston in "Trouble in Paradise" must choose either Kay Francis's wealthy Madame Colete or his fellow thief, Miriam Hopkin's Lily. But there is a difference. In "Trouble in Paradise", Gaston abandons Mme. Colete for Lily, but in "Smiling Lieutenant", Chevalier unconditionally accepts his forced romance with Anna. At first, Niki is happily fond of Franzi who is introduced to him by his friend Max (Charlie Ruggles, who played one of rejected suitors in "Trouble in Paradise"). But ultimately he is forced to marry princess Anna of the neighboring kingdom of Flausenthurm. The love scenes between lieutenant Niki and Franzi are incredibly charming and flavorsome, while the marriage of Niki and Princess Anna seems unpleasant and uninspired. But the film's charm or brilliance lies in its joyous musical numbers and songs, and its ironic immoral look at its characters. Irony and cynicism are key to understanding Lubitsch's art, especially his works of the early 30s, and "Smiling Lieutenant" is no exception. There is, for instance, an irony and immorality in the lovely number "Jazz Up Your Lingerie", as Princess Anna tries to emulate Franzi in order to look sexy for Niki.

"The Smiling Lieutenant" remains Lubitsch's most underrated musical. Not many people have seen it. It deserves to be seen and compared with Lubitsch's later works, particularly "Trouble in Paradise."


24 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
THE END!!!!!! simblub
This is why I love movies! gulhatt
Discuss The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?