|Index||4 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This charming and light-hearted Ruritanian-set romantic comedy is a
remake of the 1931 movies 'Ihre Hoheit befiehlt' and 'Princesse, a vos
ordres!'. This version from Fox Film Corporation stars Janet Gaynor and
Henri Garat, who reprises his role from the French original. It is
helmed by the German director William Dieterle, who exhibits
considerable artistic understanding with his stylish and refined
direction. With polished gems such as 'Jewel Robbery' and 'Six Hours to
Live' already decorating his resume and timeless classics such as 'All
That Money Can Buy' and 'Portrait of Jennie' still to be realised, it
is truly fascinating to view this movie and observe a developing master
Plot-wise, Gaynor and Garat star as Princess Marie Christine and Lieutenant Conradi, respectively. Attending a commoner ball incognito, they meet and become enchanted by one another over the course of a merry evening. The Princess says that she works in a hair salon and the Lieutenant describes himself as a green-grocer. When the Princess flits away into the enveloping night leaving only a note with her place of work for the smitten Conradi, the wheels of romantic misunderstanding are most definitely set in motion.
On the acting side of things, both principals work well in their roles. They are ably supported by one of cinema's greatest character actors, C. Aubrey Smith, who contributes yet another anchoring performance as the Prime Minister, Von Heynitz. Gaynor is cute and characteristically enchanting. Her Princess is engaging and not without a rebellious streak! Garat, making his first appearance in a Hollywood production, is amusing and likable in a somewhat aloof kind of a way. His Lieutenant appears suitably bewildered at stages and Garat's facial expressions had me chuckling. He occasionally resembled a toy soldier or puppet being played with by those at the Palace. To see more of Garat, I would recommend the somewhat similarly-themed comedy 'Un Mauvais Garcon' from 1936.
Eighty years after its premiere at Radio City Music Hall in New York, 'Adorable' still stands up as a delectable cinematic offering. The sets and the cinematic playfulness that allows the Princess's shoes to dance daintily and her bed sway gently with the music are the elements that really endeared this movie to me. View it if you possibly can and allow its gentle magic touch your heart and bring forth many smiles of enjoyment.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This remake of a 1931 movie of the same title, re-cast Henri Garat as the reluctant suitor. He does fine work, although he is a little hampered by the fact that Janet Gaynor is far too old for the role of an impetuous but likable teenage princess. And that makes Henri seem at least a shade too old for his role too! With this caveat, however, Adorable is just that. Brilliantly directed by William Dieterle and most engagingly photographed by John Seitz (his camera hardly ever stops moving as it roams through Gordon Wiles' vast sets), this is a movie to enjoy again and again. The movie moves so fast through its 88 minutes that I thought that C. Aubrey Smith was playing the princess's dad. He certainly acts like her dad, but I see in the credits that some child named Douglas Scott is playing the role of the king. So if Smith is playing neither dad nor the king, who is Smith? Ah! He's the prime minister! That goes to show just how fast the movie moves and usually in vast tracking shots too! And the sets are absolutely magnificent! Adorable has been unavailable for years, but fortunately, it has now been issued on a quite watchable Loving the Classics DVD.
I normally like Janet Gaynor films. Despite being a very petite lady,
she was a fine actress and excelled in such films as "Sunrise" and "A
Star is Born"...but here I found her and the script very difficult to
take. Most of the problem is that the film accentuated her cuteness to
such a level that diabetics in the audience often found themselves
descending into comas due to the syrupy sweet style of the film. Some
might like it, but I found it all to be cloying and unwelcome.
Gaynor plays a princess in a fictional central European country. She's been sneaking around incognito and has fallen inexplicably in love with an officer who seems to have little of interest to offer. Henri Garat isn't a particular good actor here and his singing is barely tolerable. None of this makes much sense and the film was very, very slow going as a result. I blame the script, the acting and especially the director for simply making this a sickeningly sweet fairy tale instead of an engaging film.
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