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The Merry Widow (1934)

Passed  |   |  Musical, Comedy, Romance  |  2 November 1934 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,728 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 14 critic

The small kingdom of Marshovia has a little problem. The main tax-payer, the wealthy widow Sonia (who pays 52 0f the taxes) has left for Paris So Count Danilo is sent to Paris, to stop her ... See full summary »

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(screen play), (screen play), 5 more credits »
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Title: The Merry Widow (1934)

The Merry Widow (1934) on IMDb 7.5/10

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A gentleman thief and a lady pickpocket join forces to con a beautiful perfume company owner. Romantic entanglements and jealousies confuse the scheme.

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An old roué arrives in Hades to review his life with Satan, who will rule on his eligibility to enter the Underworld.

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Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Minutes before her wedding to Duke Otto Von Seibenheim, Countess Helene Mara flees, on a whim, to Monte Carlo, where she hopes her luck will save her poor financial state. There, Count ... See full summary »

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Jeanette MacDonald, Jack Buchanan, Claud Allister
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young French soldier in World War I is overcome with guilt when he kills a German soldier who, like himself, is a musically gifted conscript, each having attended the same musical ... See full summary »

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Nancy Carroll, Phillips Holmes
Comedy | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 18th century Russia,the naive and idealistic lieutenant Chernov meets Empress Catherine the Great who becomes infatuated with him and appoints him Chief of the Imperial Guard.

Directors: Otto Preminger, Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Tallulah Bankhead, Charles Coburn, Anne Baxter
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Mrs Erlynne, the mother of Lady Windermere - her daughter does not know about her - wants to be introduced in society, so that she can marry Lord Augustus Lorton. Lord Windermere, who ... See full summary »

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Irene Rich, May McAvoy, Bert Lytell
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A Parisian tailor finds himself posing as a baron in order to collect a sizeable bill from an aristocrat, only to fall in love with an aloof young princess.

Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Stars: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Charles Ruggles
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Two employees at a gift shop can barely stand one another, without realizing that they're falling in love through the post as each other's anonymous pen pal.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan
Ninotchka (1939)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A stern Russian woman sent to Paris on official business finds herself attracted to a man who represents everything she is supposed to detest.

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A cloistered, overprotected Austrian prince falls in love with a down-to-earth barmaid in this "Viennese fairy tale."

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Directors: James Cruze, H. Bruce Humberstone, and 6 more credits »
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During the Nazi occupation of Poland, an acting troupe becomes embroiled in a Polish soldier's efforts to track down a German spy.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Una Merkel ...
Queen
George Barbier ...
King
Minna Gombell ...
Marcelle
Ruth Channing ...
Lulu
...
Orderly
...
Valet
Herman Bing ...
Zizipoff
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Storyline

The small kingdom of Marshovia has a little problem. The main tax-payer, the wealthy widow Sonia (who pays 52 0f the taxes) has left for Paris So Count Danilo is sent to Paris, to stop her from getting married by a stranger, so that the danger of removing the money is banned. But this is not that easy as the ambassador in Paris has planned. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The musical that set all the standards. See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

2 November 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La viuda alegre  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

With the financial failure of the film, Maurice Chevalier did not move on to better, more ambitious roles at MGM. The only parts Irving Thalberg offered him were more Gallic charmers, first in The Chocolate Soldier (1941), then in Her Cardboard Lover (1942). The former would have finally paired him with Grace Moore, who had moved to Columbia Pictures and scored a hit in One Night of Love (1934), but Chevalier wanted to return to France. When Thalberg informed him that in order to borrow Moore from Columbia he had had to promise her top billing, a clear violation of Chevalier's contract, the French star claimed breach of contract and left. After only one more film in the U.S. (Folies Bergère de Paris (1935)), he returned to France until after World War II. See more »

Quotes

King Achmet: Now tell me, if you weren't married... if you weren't my wife, could you fall for Gabrielovitsch?
Queen Dolores: If I weren't married... if I had it to do over again, and had the choice between you and Gabrielovitsch? Frankly, I'd take you.
[King Achmet laughs contentedly]
Queen Dolores: That shows you what I think of Gabrielovitsch.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Merry Widow (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

The Merry Widow Waltz
(1905) (uncredited)
Music by Franz Lehár
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Sung by Jeanette MacDonald
Danced by Jeanette MacDonald, Maurice Chevalier and chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Let's go to Maxim's
1 August 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

The great Ernst Lubitsch clearly understood the material in which "The Merry Widow" was based. Being European himself, he clearly identified with this delightful Franz Lehar operetta that had been charming audiences throughout the years. Mr. Lubitsch places the action in the small country of Marshovia, in central Europe. The director had an eye for the great spectacle he presents for us. Mr. Lubitsch greatest achievement is that he seems to have his camera waltzing all the time. The result is an amazing triumph for MGM.

In fact, the glorious sets one admires in the film are breathtaking. For a film made in 1934, the art directors, Cedric Gibbons and Gabriel Scognamillo recreate the royal palace of Marshovia in amazing detail, as well as the Paris scenes with an elegance and good taste that shows the resources of the studio that didn't spare anything. The black and white cinematography of Oliver Marsh enhances the Lubitsch style. Adrian's gowns look luxurious and the editing of the film by Francis Marsh give the film continuity without ever making the action appear forced or staged.

The pairing of Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald was an match that seems to have been made in haven. Both actors are a delight to see. Mr. Chevalier with his French accent and mannerisms make his Count Danilo the charmer he is. The beautiful Ms. MacDonald is mysterious at first, when we meet her, then as she has fallen in love, changes her attitude and realizes Danilo is the man for her.

The secondary roles are played with great panache by the genial Edward Everett Horton, who as the ambassador to Paris, is under orders to have Sonia, the wealthy woman, accept Danilo and return to Marshovia with all her money. George Barber plays the King Achmed and the incomparable Una Merkel is seen as Queen Dolores.

The Merry Widow waltz received a great production number in which about a hundred couples are seen dancing around Sonia and Danilo, first in white tuxedos and gowns and later in black ones. Later all the couples are mixed together creating such a rich moment. By today's standards that sequence couldn't have been done, or it must have cost a fortune, or perhaps would have digitally mastered in order not to pay dancers to appear dancing in the movie.

Let's just be thankful there was a man with a vision, Ernst Lubitsch, and let's be grateful for his vision and his legacy.


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