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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.



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

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Max (as Charlie Ruggles)
Niki's Orderly


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


Passed | See all certifications »





Release Date:

1 August 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El teniente seductor  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


(cut) | (original)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


" The Smiling Lieutenant " was the tenth most popular movie at the U.S. box office for 1931. See more »


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 »


Princess Anna: I love him so dearly.
Franzi: I'm just wild about him.
Princess Anna: I don't blame you. Isn't he good-looking?
Franzi: Oh, and how!
Princess Anna: That's it exactly! And how! Did you see him in his new uniform?
Franzi: At the wedding? Stunning!
Princess Anna: But to tell you the truth, I like him even better in his dinner-coat.
Franzi: With the straw hat?
Princess Anna: Yes, with the straw hat!
Franzi: Oh, that's nothing. Did you ever see him in... oh, never mind!
See more »


Featured in The House That Shadows Built (1931) See more »


Toujours l'Amour in the Army
Music by Oscar Straus
Lyrics by Clifford Grey
Sung by Maurice Chevalier twice
See more »

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User Reviews

Sublime, and almost immoral.
28 February 2000 | by See all my reviews

This film is sheer perfection - the Lubitsch Touch is here in spades. This must be one of the most charming films ever made, and it is technically brilliant too for the early talkie era. A fabulous show-case for the talents of three new Paramount stars - Maurice Chevalier has never been better, Claudette Colbert is buoyant - and Miriam Hopkins is an absolute marvel as the innocent princess. When will she be given the adulation she deserves - certainly one of the best actresses of her generation. And George Barbier is also brilliant as her father.

This film could only have been made in the pre-code days - it is very very naughty. The mating pillows is only one example of many sexual innuendos and symbols. But it is all too charming to be offensive to even the most prudish person. One of the best films of the early Thirties.

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