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The Merry Widow
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The Merry Widow (1934) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
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Down 56% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Ernest Vajda (screen play) and
Samson Raphaelson (screen play) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Merry Widow on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
2 November 1934 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
The musical that set all the standards.
Plot:
The small kingdom of Marshovia has a little problem. The main tax-payer, the wealthy widow Sonia (who... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won Oscar. See more »
NewsDesk:
(23 articles)
NBC's 'Peter Pan' Casts Tony Nominee as Mrs. Darling
 (From The Hollywood Reporter. 9 September 2014, 2:10 PM, PDT)

Bill Hader’s List of 200 Essential Comedies Everyone Should See
 (From SoundOnSight. 28 August 2014, 3:38 PM, PDT)

Il Cinema Ritrovato 2014
 (From MUBI. 7 July 2014, 10:00 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Lehar, Lorenz, and the " Lubitsch Touch" See more (26 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Maurice Chevalier ... Danilo

Jeanette MacDonald ... Sonia

Edward Everett Horton ... Ambassador
Una Merkel ... Queen
George Barbier ... King
Minna Gombell ... Marcelle
Ruth Channing ... Lulu

Sterling Holloway ... Orderly

Donald Meek ... Valet
Herman Bing ... Zizipoff
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jacklyn Alexander ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Lona Andre ... Maid to Sonia (uncredited)
Henry Armetta ... Turk (uncredited)
Zita Baca ... Maxim Girl (uncredited)
Barbara Barondess ... Maxim Girl (uncredited)
George Baxter ... Ambassador (uncredited)
Cosmo Kyrle Bellew ... Escort (uncredited)
Sheila Bromley ... Sonia's Maid (uncredited)
Tyler Brooke ... Escort (uncredited)
Kathleen Burke ... Prisoner (uncredited)
A.S. 'Pop' Byron ... Doorman (uncredited)
Richard Carle ... Defense Attorney (uncredited)
Nora Cecil ... Animal Woman (uncredited)
Shirley Chambers ... Maxim Girl (uncredited)
Lane Chandler ... Soldier Reporting to Popoff (uncredited)
Claudia Coleman ... Wardrobe Mistress (uncredited)

Gino Corrado ... Waiter (uncredited)
Dorothy Dehn ... Maxim Girl (uncredited)
Jill Dennett ... Duchess - a Maxim Girl (uncredited)
Paul Ellis ... Dancer (uncredited)
Patricia Farley ... Maxim Girl (uncredited)
Christian J. Frank ... Policeman (uncredited)
Otto Fries ... Policeman (uncredited)
Dorothy Granger ... Maxim Girl (uncredited)
Roger Gray ... Policeman (uncredited)
Winter Hall ... Priest (uncredited)
Mary Halsey ... Maxim Girl (uncredited)
Jeanne Hart ... Maxim Girl (uncredited)
Tom Herbert ... Orthodox Priest (uncredited)
Arthur Housman ... Drunken Man (uncredited)
Eleanor Hunt ... Maxim Girl (uncredited)
Perry Ivins ... Waiter (uncredited)
Leonid Kinskey ... Shepherd (uncredited)
Connie La Mont ... Maxim Girl (uncredited)
Barbara Leonard ... Melissa (uncredited)
George J. Lewis ... Escort (uncredited)
Caryl Lincoln ... Maid to Sonia (uncredited)
Bella Loblov ... Gypsy Violinist (uncredited)
Jacques Lory ... Goatman (uncredited)

Ernst Lubitsch ... Himself - Director in Trailer (uncredited)
George Magrill ... Policeman (uncredited)
Eric Mayne ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
John Merkyl ... Escort (uncredited)
John 'Skins' Miller ... Drunken Man (uncredited)
Ferdinand Munier ... Jailer (uncredited)
Wedgwood Nowell ... Lackey (uncredited)
Frank O'Connor ... Soldier with Exhibit 2 (uncredited)
Albert Pollet ... Headwaiter (uncredited)
Russ Powell ... Fat Lackey (uncredited)
Lucien Prival ... Adamovitch (uncredited)
Charles Requa ... Escort (uncredited)
John Roach ... Policeman (uncredited)
Jason Robards Sr. ... Arresting Officer (uncredited)
Dewey Robinson ... Fat Lackey (uncredited)
Shirley Ross ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Matty Roubert ... Newsboy (uncredited)
Jan Rubini ... Violinist (uncredited)
Hector Sarno ... Gypsy Leader (uncredited)
Rolfe Sedan ... Gabrielovitsch (uncredited)
Evelyn Selbie ... Newspaper Woman (uncredited)
Frank Sheridan ... Judge (uncredited)

Akim Tamiroff ... Manager of Maxim's (uncredited)
Lee Tinn ... Excited Chinese Man (uncredited)
Maria Troubetskoy ... Maxim Girl (uncredited)
Edna Waldron ... Maid to Sonia (uncredited)
Morgan Wallace ... Prosecuting Attorney (uncredited)
Luana Walters ... Maid to Sonia (uncredited)
Peggy Watts ... Maxim Girl (uncredited)
Dorothy Wilson ... Maxim Girl (uncredited)

Directed by
Ernst Lubitsch 
 
Writing credits
Ernest Vajda (screen play) and
Samson Raphaelson (screen play)

Viktor Léon (based on book and lyrics by) (as Victor Leon) and
Leo Stein (based on book and lyrics by)

Lorenz Hart  contributing writer (uncredited)
Ernst Lubitsch  contributing writer (uncredited)
Henri Meilhac  based on play "L'attaché d'Ambassade" (uncredited)

Produced by
Ernst Lubitsch .... producer (uncredited)
Irving Thalberg .... producer (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Oliver T. Marsh (photographed by)
 
Film Editing by
Frances Marsh (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
 
Makeup Department
Robert J. Schiffer .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Joe Lefert .... co-assistant director (uncredited)
Joseph M. Newman .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Fredric Hope .... associate art director
Edwin B. Willis .... associate art director
Fred Gabourie .... set designer (uncredited)
Henry Grace .... set dresser (uncredited)
Bert Sperling .... props (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
James Brock .... sound mixer (uncredited)
M.J. McLaughlin .... sound mixer (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Ted Allan .... still photographer (uncredited)
Johnny Greer .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Harry Reid .... grip (uncredited)
Art Spang .... grip (uncredited)
Lester White .... second camera operator (uncredited)
Ted Wurtenberg .... gaffer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Adrian .... gowns: Miss MacDonald
Ali Hubert .... wardrobe
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Lorenz Hart .... lyrics by
Gus Kahn .... additional lyrics
Franz Lehár .... music by (as Franz Lehar)
Richard Rodgers .... lyrics by
Herbert Stothart .... musical adaptation
Paul Marquardt .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Charles Maxwell .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Leonid Raab .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Albertina Rasch .... dances directed by
Eric Locke .... business manager (uncredited)
F.D. Raymond .... stageman (uncredited)
Bert Spencer .... waltz instructor: Jeanette MacDonald (uncredited)
Carl West .... stageman (uncredited)
 

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
99 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Netherlands:AL (original rating) (1935) | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating) | West Germany:12 (nf)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
MGM hired at least 500 extras for the "Merry Widow" dance number.See more »
Quotes:
[Presenting a dog to the courtroom]
Prosecuting Attorney:Exhibit 2, please. Now, generals of the jury, I will prove with this exhibit...
Defense Attorney:Your honor, I object! I object to having this witness called an exhibit!
Prosecuting Attorney:She IS an exhibit!
Defense Attorney:He's a witness!
Prosecuting Attorney:She is not!
Defense Attorney:He is!
Judge:Objection sustained. From now on, the prosecution will refer to Exhibit #2 as Witness #1.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in 100 Years of Comedy (1997) (V)See more »
Soundtrack:
If Widows Are RichSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
9 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
Lehar, Lorenz, and the " Lubitsch Touch", 7 September 2005
Author: theowinthrop from United States

Ernst Lubitsch directed some of the sweetest and funniest sex comedies of the 1930s and 1940s. He was fortunate enough to do three films with Maurice Chevalier and Jeannette MacDonald. They are all charming, but the last one may be the best. Here he took the best known operetta of Franz Lehar and turned it into a superb musical comedy, with new lyrics to tunes like "Maximes", "the Merry Widow Waltz", and "Girls, girls, girls, girls, girls" by Lorenz Hart. At the same time he maintained his marvelous sense of fun - something that may be very much missing from Eric Von Stroheim's earlier, silent film version (that became a study in Balkan politics).

THE MERRY WIDOW was composed in 1905, shortly after a major scandal involving the nation of Montenegro. This land still exists, and (with Serbia) retains the now useless joint name of Yugoslavia - the Balkan state that once faced Italy and combined eight countries. Montenegro was a kingdom in 1905, and it's ruler had a Crown Prince named Danilo, who created major scandal by his doings in Paris. Lehar, a Viennese composer (and so, one who usually made fun of the Slavic states) took the story and the name of the Crown Prince, retaining the setting in the embassy in Paris. In Lehar's operetta, the homeland of Pontrevekkio (note how it sounds like Montenegro) is on the verge of bankruptcy, unless the richest widow in the country (Sonia) marries a citizen of the state. She is being pursued by eligible Frenchmen in Paris, so the Pontrevekkian embassy decides to have Count Danillo, a member of the staff there, romance and marry her. The complications that ensue are amusing. Lehar's music is not as waltz oriented on the whole as Johann Strauss II, except for the famous "Merry Widow" number. Most of the tunes have more of a Parisian flair, and one ("Vilia") has a lovely haunting effect. It remains his most popular operetta, although he was to do "THE COUNT OF LUXEMBURG" and "THE LAND OF SMILES" as well.

Montenegro did complain (like the Japanese complained about Gilbert and Sullivan's THE MIKADO). The major change in the book nowadays is the name is usually not Pontrevekkio, but Marshovia. When Von Stroheim did his silent version, he concentrated on the Balkan politics involving the Crown Prince, his "cousin" Prince Danillo, Sonia, her rich, insane husband, and the throne. The cast in that had been quite stunning for a 1925 movie, with John Gilbert as Danillo, Roy D'Arcy as the grinning, sadistic Crown Prince, Mae Marsh as Sonia, and Tully Marshall as the sexually mad Baron who weds Sonia (and suffers a stroke on their wedding night). Full of sexual ideas (Marshall has such a foot fetish that he dies having his nose in Marsh's pumps), the highpoint was the waltz, wherein Gilbert and Marsh realize their love to Lehar's strains (the music at that point of the silent version was always the Lehar "Merry Widow" Waltz). It remains a masterpiece of silent cinema (and another proof of Von Stroheim's peculiar genius), but it is not a light hearted as the operetta it was based on.

Lubitsch is different. He has fun showing what little Marshovia is like, with sheep and goats appearing all over the streets and in the public buildings. The King (George Barbier) is aware that his wife (Una Merkle) is less than satisfied with him, and has a famous "freudian" moment when he returns without warning to get his ceremonial sword, grabs one, and finds he can't get the belt around his girth. He returns to his antechamber, and confronts Lt. Danillo with his wife. King Achmet is upset, but his solution - he'll cover up the scandal but sends Danillo to Paris.

There are many good moments: Danillo's trial for treason is one. So is Ambassador Popoff (Edward Everett Horton) having his aide (Herman Bing) translate a coded message from King Achmet, which basically calls him a blockhead. And, yes, the film chemistry between Maurice and Jeannette is retained, as in their three other movies. But they could not have made more films together. Nolan disliked Chevalier - he had a habit of pinching her. Chevalier thought she was a hypocrite, because (at the time) she was having an affair with Gene Raymond (whom she eventually married). When she was teamed with Nelson Eddy, she and Eddy happened to be quite close friends, which is why their total film output together is eight films.

I notice that Clark Gable had some kind of cameo appearance here (it is not in the billing). Two years later he and Jeanette would appear together in SAN FRANCISCO.

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