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Edward Everett Horton
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Andre and Colette Bertier are happily married. When Colette introduces her husband to her flirtatious best friend, Mitzi, he does his best to resist her advances. But she is persistent, and very cute, and he succumbs. Mitzi's husband wants to divorce her, and has been having her tailed. Andre gets caught, and must confess to his wife. But Colette has had problems resisting the attentions of another man herself, and they forgive each other. Written by
John Oswalt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
ONE HOUR WITH YOU (Paramount, 1932), directed by Ernst Lubitsch (co-directed by George Cukor), premiered on American Movie Classics March 11, 1993, as part of its annual film preservation. Prior to that, it was shown on the Movie Channel in 1991. A musical comedy, it reunites Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, stars of THE LOVE PARADE (Paramount, 1929), offering them a rare opportunity playing husband and wife from start to finish, and an amusing couple at that.
As for the plot: Chevalier plays Doctor Andre Bertier, happily married man, who comes upon the flirtatious but much married Mitzi Olivier (Genevieve Tobin), who turns out to be his wife, Colette's (MacDonald) best friend in town for a visit. Mitzi's no-nonsense husband (Roland Young) suspects his wife for infidelity and has hired Detective Henry Dornier (Richard Carle) to follow her. While Mitzi makes a play for Andre, Andre's best friend, Adolph (Charles Ruggles), best man at his wedding, does the same for Colette. Situations become involved when Andre finds himself accused of having an affair not with Mitzi but with Mademoiselle Martel (Josephine Dunn) and later on, Professor Olivier visiting Andre and naming him as correspondent in his divorce trial.
Songs by Oscar Struss and Leo Robin, with interpolated music by Richard Whiting, include: "But Spring is Here" (introduced by George Barbier); "What a Little Thing Like a Wedding Ring Will Do" (sung by Chevalier and MacDonald); "We Will Always Be Sweethearts" (sung by MacDonald); "Three Times a Day" (sung by Chevalier and Genevieve Tobin); "One Hour With You" (sung by Donald Novis, Tobin, Charlie Ruggles, MacDonald and Chevalier); "It Was Only a Dream Kiss," "We Will Always Be Sweethearts" (Chevalier and MacDonald) and "What Would You Do?" (Chevalier).
This pre-production code comedy with singing was previously done in the silent era as THE MARRIAGE CIRCLE (Warner Brothers, 1924) starring Adolphe Menjou, Florence Vidor, Monte Blue and Marie Prevost, also directed by Lubitsch, which was distributed on video cassette in the 1990s. This remake was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture of 1932, but in spite of its popularity, this is nearly a forgotten movie. While Jeanette MacDonald is remembered mainly for her costume operettas at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and singing duets with Nelson Eddy in their eight films together spanning from 1935 to 1942, ONE HOUR WITH YOU offers a different Jeanette MacDonald, singing contemporary songs in modern day Paris. At times she's very funny which is a shame that she never was given the opportunity to appear in a "screwball" comedy, but this, being a "drawing room" or "sophisticated" comedy will do. Risqué dialog all around adds to the amusements, with Chevalier occasionally narrating the story to the audience, looking directly into the camera in the way comedian George Burns did on his "George Burns and Gracie Allen Show" on television back in the 1950s.
While a delightful 78 minutes, the next Chevalier and MacDonald musical, LOVE ME TONIGHT (Paramount, 1932) ranks the very best of their four collaborations as a team. Available on DVD as of 2008, and on Turner Classic Movies where it premiered February 23, 2010. (****)
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