Austrian Emperor Franz Josef has arranged a marriage for his nephew, the Archduke Paul Gustave - nicknamed Gustl - to the suitable Princess Matilda, a woman Gustl can't even remember. He is... See full summary »
Austrian Emperor Franz Josef has arranged a marriage for his nephew, the Archduke Paul Gustave - nicknamed Gustl - to the suitable Princess Matilda, a woman Gustl can't even remember. He is instead in love with the Hungarian Countess Zarika Rafay, which Gustl can't tell his uncle since he disapproves of her family. The Emperor will allow Gustl to sow his wild oats before getting married, but that woman needs to be someone "harmless" outside of the royal circle. Since they discuss this situation while at the ballet, Gustl instead tells the Emperor that he is in love with one of the ballerinas, and the one he has chosen somewhat at random is the always distracted Lisl Gluck, who is considered the worst dancer in the company since she is always staring at the man she intends to marry, the ballet company's piano accompanist Toni Berngruber. When Gustl summons Lisl, she is relieved to learn his true intentions - that she is just a front while he cavorts secretly with the Countess (although... Written by
The following actors are listed in studio records as appearing in this film, but were not seen in the print: Josef Swickard as the doctor, Billy Gilbert and Cecilia Parker. 'Stuart Erwin (I)' was listed as an actor in a Hollywood Reporter production chart, but he was not seen in the film either. See more »
Wistful, bittersweet operetta seemingly belonging to a time considerably earlier than 1935; it has elements of "Maytime," "The Student Prince," and, yes, "Bitter Sweet" in its plotting and sentimentality. (And leading lady Evelyn Laye, who is extraordinary, had in fact starred in "Bitter Sweet" on Broadway.) But Romberg and Hammerstein, whether au courant at the time or not, chose to write sincerely and with feeling, and MGM trotted out some good screenwriters and excellent production values to realize their vision. The result is an operetta familiar in its doomed-love-among-different-classes plotting, but integrated in a then-modern way, with characters subtly switching into song on the flimsiest of excuses. It's really charming, and Novarro, in his MGM farewell, is dashing and gentlemanly. Charles Butterworth, who had played this sort of part for Hammerstein on the stage in "Sweet Adeline," is a delightful underplaying buffoon, and his vis-a-vis, Una Merkel, gets more screen time than she was generally allowed. Rosalind Russell, as the well-bred woman Novarro must marry (like I said, it's very like "The Student Prince") isn't interesting at this point in her career, but Edward Everett Horton had by now perfected his fussy-major-domo characterization and does it to a T. Well directed by the nearly unknown Dudley Murphy, and lovely to look at.
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