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The Merry Widow (1934)

Passed | | Musical, Comedy, Romance | 2 November 1934 (USA)
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) | 2 more credits »
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

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A woman cannot decide between two men who love her, and the trio agree to try living together in a platonic friendly relationship.

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Against her better judgement, happily married Jill Baker is persuaded to see a popular psychoanalyst about her psychosomatic hiccups. Soon, she's disillusioned about husband Larry; and one ... See full summary »

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Musical
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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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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
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Queen
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King
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Marcelle
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Lulu
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Orderly
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Valet
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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

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The musical that set all the standards. See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

2 November 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La viuda alegre  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the only film teaming Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald in which they never sang together. Aware that her classical style was poorly matched to his popular vocalizing, Ernst Lubitsch even inserted a joke about the musical mismatch. At one point Chevalier seemed to be serenading MacDonald with a cultured baritone voice, only for Lubitsch to reveal the voice belonged to one of his orderlies. See more »

Quotes

Danilo: I'm a soldier. My duty is to fight. I'm willing to die on every battlefield. But I'm not going to drink another cup of coffee!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Nelson and Jeanette (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

If Widows Are Rich
(1905) (uncredited)
Music by Franz Lehár
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Sung by Jeanette MacDonald
See more »

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User Reviews

Lubitsch's greatest musical
19 December 2002 | by (Ottawa) – See all my reviews

Andrew Sarris once wrote that "Lubitsch suggests the art of lilting waltz or bubbling champagne" and nowhere is this truer in "The Merry Widow", Lubitsch's last musical, his first transition to MGM, and my own pick for Lubitsch's greatest musical (rivalled only by either "One Hour With You"(1932) or "The Smiling Lieutenant"(1931)). It just doesn't get any better than this. Lubitsch's approach here is to exploit Cedric Gibbons' enchanting Art Deco with wit. He also displays an eye for real, human emotion within the marvellous, dreamy world. There are many highlights, including the rousing rendition of "Delia" at the beginning, Chevalier's Danilo at the Maxim's, but the most extraordinary of all is The Merry Widow Waltz, a joyous blend of gaiety and sadness. In several successive shots, Danilo and Jeanette MacDonald's Sonia are shown alone on a dance floor and then exquisitely enveloped by hordes of dancers sweeping in from all sides - then all this enchanting splendour is climaxed by Lubitsch revealing that the whole ballroom scene is the subjective dream of the lovers. What appears to be the dance of life is in fact the dance of death.

Lubitsch will later reprise the waltz in his imperishable 1943 masterpiece "Heaven Can Wait" when Don Ameche recalls it on his death bed. Not to Mention, Alfred Hitchcock in "Shadow of a Doubt" as a reminder of death and mortality.


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