Dozens of star and character-actor cameos and a message about the Variety Club (show-business charity) are woven into a framework about two hopeful young ladies who come to Hollywood, ... See full summary »
Olga San Juan,
Jordan Blake (a widower) is a successful Broadway Producer who has always been to busy for his children, Barbara and Jerry. Girlfriend, Carolina a musical comedy star, urges Jordan to take ... See full summary »
Bill Benson and Ted Adams are to appear in a Broadway show together and, while in Paris, each 'discovers' the perfect leading lady for the plum female role. Each promises the prize role to ... See full summary »
Sylvia is the French teacher at Briarcroft's School for Girls, but she wants to find romance. When she hears Bill on the radio, she decides to leave and thank him. But he is on his way to ... See full summary »
A young man falls in love with a beautiful blonde. When he sees her being forced onto a luxury liner, he decides to follow and rescue her. However, he discovers that she is an English ... See full summary »
The switchboard operator in an apartment building falls in love with a businessman who lives in the building, whom she has gotten to know only over the phone. When she discovers that the ... See full summary »
Edward Everett Horton
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. However, because of legal complications, this particular title was not included in the original television package and may not have ever been televised. See more »
A musical comedy from Paramount featuring one classically trained voice and one popular singer, set in Europe, built around a romance between an impoverished princess and a rich man posing as a waiter to be near her... this sounds to me exactly like the kind of movie that Paramount would have assigned to Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald and director Ernst Lubitsch during the early thirties. I would bet my bottom dollar that this is exactly what Paramount planned to do with this musical remake of the 1926 silent comedy "The Grand Duchess and the Waiter." Unfortunately, none of them were available in 1934, so they gave it to Bing Crosby, Kitty Carlisle and director Frank Tuttle instead. In this case second best isn't good enough. Crosby holds his own reasonably well, making a surprisingly good substitute for Chevalier (or Adolphe Menjou, who played the part in the silent film); like Maurice, he has a breezy, easygoing charm, which fits his character, a common man who made good. But Carlisle is fatally miscast as the Russian princess. Jeanette MacDonald could play these snobbish aristocrats with an undertone of sympathy and humor; Carlisle can't, and she is so haughty that she becomes dislikable. She isn't a bad actress; this part just isn't meant for her. It would be hard for any movie to overcome that handicap. Maybe Lubitsch could have made something out of it, but Tuttle lacks his subtlety and his instinct for a clever gag.
The movie has virtues; the music is good, and the scene in which Bing sings "June in January" is imaginative. The supporting cast is solid, especially Roland Young and Reginald Owen as members of the royal family. The sets and the photography are attractive. I'm glad to see this movie emerge from the closet it had been hiding in for half a century, but it just isn't one of Crosby's best films.
4 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?