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King Rudolf XIV of Langenstein, is too busy to make love to his wife, Queen Elaine of Langenstein, and good Queen Elaine is upset royally about it. She departs the palace and tells him she will not return until he learns how to make love to her,and, as a parting shot, until he also shaves off his ancestral beard. Too much of one thing and not enough of another. As often happens in Langenstein, an Hollywood actor, Carlo Rocco, who is an exact double for the king, shows up, and the King naturally hires him to take his place while the King goes to Vienna to learn how to live and make love. (Vienna?). Carlo not only is a good actor and capable replacement for, ere long, the Queen falls madly in love with a man she thinks is her husband. Plus, he has learned how to sing. (Pre-code film.) Written by
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
Slow moving but charming musical curio with Oscar nominated Choreography
ALL THE KING'S HORSES is indeed a musical curio. It was the first film of Mary Ellis who has a lovely singing voice and a charming comedic touch - she was only to make eight films. For leading man, Carl Brisson, it was one of twelve films he made - his career did not last beyond 1935. The pair almost seem like husband and wife in real life and the plot is one of those charming trifles (like THE GUARDSMAN and its musical equivalent, THE CHOCOLATE SOLDIER) geared for such pairings. King Rudolf is in love with his wife but neglects her for affairs of state, so she leaves him. Enter King Rudolf look-alike, popular singer Carlo Rocco, who befriends the king and offers to change places with him while he goes out on the town to learn how to spice up his love life with the queen. Meanwhile Queen Elaine returns and is attracted to this "new" husband. He too is attracted to the Queen and is now in a desperate situation - what will win out - his love or his duty to his king? The special effects with Brisson playing both roles at once are seamless and beautifully timed. There's bits of plots of THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER, THE GUARDSMAN and even COSI FAN TUTTI. Oddly, the screenplay was amalgamated from two separate and unrelated plays. The score is a delight (BE CAREFUL; A KING CAN DO NO WRONG; WHEN PRINCE CHARMING COMES ALONG; SLEEP BABY SLEEP; GYPSY SONG; and the two best - A LITTLE WHITE GARDENIA and DANCING THE VIENNESE. The latter is a pretense for the film's only dance number, effective with mirrors and special effects where dancing couples whirl behind pillars and emerge seamlessly in different period costumes. This bit of choreography and design was nominated for a Choreography (Dance Direction)Oscar. The film deserved equal nods for Original Score and Art Direction.
Although the direction is sluggish and the plot slow-moving (microphone placement was still more important than dramaturgy in 1934), it is still a delight and quite enjoyable.
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