Schani, Johan Strauss Jr., is forced by his father to forget music and to work in a bakery. Here he falls in love with Resi. The girl gets very jealous when a rich and beautiful contessa asks Schani to write a waltz for her. Schani writes and plays it, but he is always loyal to his girlfriend. Written by
Claudio Sandrini <email@example.com>
This is a fairly entertaining pre-War cheaply made British musical comedy which sadly fails in a number of ways: it was the 3rd film with Jessie Matthews and Edmund Gwenn, and definitely the least satisfying of them; it was Hitchcock directing a non-thriller with his heart not in it; Hitchcock and Matthews didn't get on, and it showed in his screen treatment of her - Britain's top singing and dancing star at the time; and a ridiculously fictitious plot. Hitch thought it was the worst film he'd ever made and Jessie thought it was "perfectly dreadful".
It was an adaptation of a London musical stage play which apparently ran for over a year: Johann Strauss II played by Esmond Knight wants to be a composer like his father, I (Gwenn), who is arrogantly dismissive of his talents throughout. I'm afraid I won't see Gwenn as Santa quite the same again. II eventually succeeds spectacularly with the help of Countess Fay Compton (was she ever anything but elderly and wistful?) and barmaid girlfriend Matthews - incidentally Robert Hale who played her father was her real-life father-in-law. Jessie was as usual good to look at (personally speaking) but unfortunately didn't really get to sing much, and Hitchcock was excellent as usual but didn't get to show off much. Most people will be disappointed with the latter, but for myself it was with the lack of Jessie's beautiful singing voice in what was after all billed as a musical, and with her name over the title. On the other hand, Hitchcock seemed to be mining the One Hour With You stylistic vein a lot of the time albeit in a cheaper but still pleasant British way, there were some nice sets and of course there was Louis Levy's orchestrations for The Blue Danube to admire when it arrived. The less said about how II was supposed to have composed it here, the better!
It's a pleasant enough 76 minutes for someone like me who isn't a Hitchcock completist, but probably will be a real chore if you are.
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