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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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Operating under royal orders, a count must woo a young and wealthy widow in order to save a kingdom from bankruptcy.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
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...
Queen
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King
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Marcelle
Ruth Channing ...
Lulu
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Orderly
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Valet
...
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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Let Joy be Unconfined! 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  »

Company Credits

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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

Censors from the film industry's Production Code Administration objected to a scene at Maxim's in which Danilo carries Sonia to a couch, drops her there and then sits beside her. They only passed the scene when the stars managed to contort their bodies so she could keep both feet on the floor. That taken care of, PCA head Joseph Breen passed the film. See more »

Quotes

Ambassador Popoff: Have you ever had diplomatic relations with a woman?
See more »

Connections

Version of Gay Operetta: The Merry Widow (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

If Widows Are Rich
(1905) (uncredited)
Music by Franz Lehár
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Sung by Jeanette MacDonald
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User Reviews

 
Passion In Three-Quarters Time
10 October 2004 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

The Monarch of Marshovia sends a romantic count to Paris to woo back THE MERRY WIDOW whose vast wealth is vital to running the tiny kingdom.

Nine years after producing a non-talking film based on the Franz Lehár operetta, MGM mined the same material again, this time as a musical comedy. The Studio would give the film its trademark opulent treatment, with production values of the highest order. Celebrated lyricist Lorenz Hart was engaged to write words for the music. And, to make absolutely certain of success, director Ernst Lubitsch and stars Maurice Chevalier & Jeanette MacDonald were reunited to duplicate their previous triumphs at Paramount Studios.

If, ultimately, the film does not have quite the effervescence of Lubitsch's previous pictures, this is probably understandable. MGM, while wonderful with epics and dramas, often took an unnecessarily heavy-handed approach to subjects which should have been given a lighter, airier treatment. Also, the film was released a few months after the imposition of the Production Code, which obviously had a significant effect upon the movie's final persona.

Chevalier & MacDonald continue the on screen relationship already well established in their earlier films: she, the rather aloof and powerful female who needs a good man; he, the social inferior who wins her with his enormous Gallic charm. Their singing is vivacious & charming and sometimes you can almost understand her words.

Unlike the 1925 version of THE MERRY WIDOW, there is no villain here to provide dramatic tension. The costars, however, provide much comic amusement. Foremost among them is waspish Edward Everett Horton, very funny as Marshovia's nervous Ambassador in Paris. Rotund George Barbier & sprightly Una Merkel make the most of their small roles as the diminutive nation's conniving King and flirtatious Queen.

Some of the smaller roles are also humorously cast: Sterling Holloway as Chevalier's loyal orderly; Donald Meek as the King's gossipy valet; and Herman Bing as Horton's dramatic factotum.

Movie mavens will recognize Akim Tamiroff as the head waiter at Maxim's & Arthur Housman as a drunk (what else?) trying to gain entry into that establishment, both uncredited.


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