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Josef is the valet for Count von Rommer and well trained in the philandering ways of his master. Mistaken for the Count by a maid, Marie, whom he thinks is an aristocrat, Josef shows her a merry time in the Count's Monte Carlo villa. Meanwhile, the Count escapes a situation with Countess von Rischenheim, when her husband Count von Rischenheim makes an unscheduled appearance, by posing as the butler. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
precode Universal was so much more than monster films ...
... and I do not know why the folks at Universal don't do more to get treasures such as these out to the public, at least using the manufactured on demand method that Warner Brothers and MGM/UA are using.
This is one of the sophisticated precodes revolving around a series of mistaken identities and misrepresentations. The basic plot is that Josef (Paul Lukas) is butler to the carousing Prince Alfred von Rommer (Nils Asther). Josef helps the prince whenever he gets in a tight spot with one of his many lady friends - with that tight spot primarily consisting of protests and threats being raised by one of the ladies' husbands popping up unexpectedly. After one such episode the prince decides to take a vacation in Monte Carlo and he sends Josef on ahead with the luggage. On the train Josef notices an attractive young lady (Elissa Landi) and tries to make a play for her himself. He is only modestly successful until the young woman sees Josef's luggage and notices the prince's coat of arms. Now Josef has to pretend to be the prince in order to continue courting the lady. What happens when the real prince arrives? Is the young lady who she seems to be? Will those angry husbands now be after Josef since he has taken the prince's identity? Watch and find out.
The main negative in this film is the casting of Paul Lukas as Josef. This time it is not his accent that is the problem but his age. It is a bit of a stretch to believe that a man in his 40's would have such wide-eyed hero worship for the younger prince and his philandering ways. Nils Asther as the prince gives a charming and effortless performance, behaving genuinely amused at the uncomfortable situations in which he is placed. Like Lukas, Asther also had a heavy accent, and that and a contract dispute pretty much finished his acting career shortly after this film was made.
Highly recommended as one of the great sophisticated precodes, although you probably won't be able to find a good print of it. I know I haven't been able to find one yet.
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