IMDb > The Smiling Lieutenant (1931)
The Smiling Lieutenant
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The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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7.9/10   2,296 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Leopold Jacobson (operetta) and
Felix Dormann (operetta) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Smiling Lieutenant on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 August 1931 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
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... See more » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. See more »
NewsDesk:
(8 articles)
User Reviews:
An Intercepted Wink See more (28 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Maurice Chevalier ... Lt. Nikolaus 'Niki' von Preyn

Claudette Colbert ... Franzi

Miriam Hopkins ... Princess Anna

Charles Ruggles ... Max (as Charlie Ruggles)
George Barbier ... King Adolf XV
Hugh O'Connell ... Niki's Orderly
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Maude Allen ... Lady in Waiting (uncredited)
Granville Bates ... Bill Collector (uncredited)
Harry C. Bradley ... Count Von Halden (uncredited)
Carrie Daumery ... Lady in Waiting (uncredited)
Ludwig Heinsich ... Man (uncredited)
Cornelius MacSunday ... Emperor Franz Josef (uncredited)
Elizabeth Patterson ... Baroness von Schwedel (uncredited)
Janet Reade ... Lily (uncredited)
Werner Saxtorph ... Joseph (uncredited)
Karl Stall ... Master of Ceremonies (uncredited)
Robert Strange ... Col. Rockoff (uncredited)
Charles Wagenheim ... Arresting Officer (uncredited)

Directed by
Ernst Lubitsch 
 
Writing credits
Leopold Jacobson (operetta "Ein Walzertraum") and
Felix Dormann (operetta "Ein Walzertraum") (as Felix Dörmann)

Hans Müller (novel "Nux der Prinzgemahl")

Ernest Vajda (screenplay) &
Samson Raphaelson (screenplay)

Jacques Bataille-Henri  dialogue: French version (uncredited)
Ernst Lubitsch  uncredited

Produced by
Ernst Lubitsch .... producer
 
Cinematography by
George J. Folsey  (as George Folsey)
 
Film Editing by
Merrill G. White (uncredited)
 
Art Direction by
Hans Dreier (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
C.A. Tuthill .... sound (uncredited)
Ernest Zatorsky .... sound (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Harry Froboess .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Adolph Deutsch .... musical director (uncredited)
Johnny Green .... music arranger (uncredited)
Conrad Salinger .... music arranger (uncredited)
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
89 min (cut version) | 93 min (original version)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Certification:
UK:U (DVD rating) | USA:Passed (National Board of Review)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Paramount's biggest grossing film of 1931.See more »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: 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:
Princess Anna:I love him so dearly.
Franzi:I'm just wild about him.
Princess Anna: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 »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Strictly Dishonorable (1931)See more »
Soundtrack:
One More Hour of LoveSee more »

FAQ

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
An Intercepted Wink, 20 August 2009
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

It must have been that the movie-going public loved seeing Maurice Chevalier in those tight uniforms, he seemed to be in them in most of those early talkies he made for American studios. Only now and again would Chevalier play something as prosaic as a tailor.

He's a guardsman again in The Smiling Lieutenant. But with the Austrian Empire at peace all the men have a lot of idle time on their hands. Maurice is busy planning his latest campaign when a friend played by Charlie Ruggles asks him with that Chevalier charm to intercede for him with a female violinist in Claudette Colbert.

Maurice does, but the sly rogue gets her for himself. And then he's put on duty to greet the visiting royal house of Flausenthurm which includes King George Barbier and Princess Miriam Hopkins.

In one of those priceless Ernst Lubitsch moments, Chevalier while at attention spots Colbert across the street and throws a few knowing smiles and winks. But when the coach carrying Barbier and Hopkins passes, Hopkins intercepts one of those winks and considers it an uncalled for act upon a royal personage.

In fact she likes what she sees and persuades Daddy to get the Emperor who's her uncle to part with Chevalier. Of course Maurice the old campaigner likes the idea of being married to the dowdy Hopkins if he's got Claudette on the side.

I won't go any farther, but as you can see just by what I tell you The Smiling Lieutenant is a film made before the Code was put in place. In fact the naughtiness of films like these is what got Hollywood the Code. But it's what also makes it hold up very well for today's audience.

No big song hits come from The Smiling Lieutenant, but Chevalier delivers what's there with his Gallic charm. Even Hopkins and Colbert grab a chorus or two with Maurice. Music is by Oscar Straus with English lyrics by Clifford Grey.

This is before the Code so you have some freedom as to how this film will end, the parameters the Code put in place are no longer there. I should say however that Miriam Hopkins gets a makeover that Paul Venoit and his team would envy.

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