Janet Gaynor plays a rebellious princess who must try to marry the man she loves, instead of the stuffy old prince her parents want her to marry. But will this ordinary man love her back ... See full summary »
It's the 1930s, the Depression era, and the Board of Directors of Thomas Dickson's bank want Dickson to merge with New York Trust and resign. He refuses. One night, Dickson's bank is robbed... See full summary »
Many passengers on the Shanghai Express are more concerned that the notorious Shanghai Lil is on board than the fact that a civil war is going on that may make the trip take more than three... See full summary »
Josef von Sternberg
Anna May Wong
Promoter Smoothe King helps a pair of phonies con their way into a movie company. As Wanda heads toward stardom, she turns more and more from King toward the matinée idol. King must decide between his plans and her happiness.
Janet Gaynor plays a rebellious princess who must try to marry the man she loves, instead of the stuffy old prince her parents want her to marry. But will this ordinary man love her back once he finds out she's a princess? Written by
In this early sound musical, Janet Gaynor plays a princess in an Austria-like fairytale kingdom who longs to live the life of an ordinary girl. Watch it with a sense of humor--this is in no way an important musical along the lines of "Gigi", but it doesn't try to be. The script is humorous and a bit self-mocking, and the actors have a lot of fun inventing business for themselves--scenes between C. Aubrey Smith and Herbert Mundin appear to have been staged for their personal amusement, which luckily works for the audience, too. Director Dieterle adds some wonderful flights of fancy, which I won't give away, because the surprise is a good part of the fun. The music, sets, and costumes all contribute to the delightful feeling of fantasy.
Janet Gaynor's voice is almost shockingly girlish, which I think must have been partly due to the sound technology used, but her performance suits the title. In addition, her character is spirited and mischievous. Henri Garat, a French actor playing Gaynor's love interest, doesn't fare quite as well as she does: he's a bit hard to understand, with his heavy accent; isn't 100% photogenic; and his character comes off as a little caddish. But he does bring his fine singing voice, sounding sincere even when the lyrics are a trifle silly: "You're so completely adorable...is the way to your heart explorable?"
Recommended for old-movie fans looking for a diverting film that's sweet but surprising.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?