Rose-Marie (1936) Poster

(1936)

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High Camp That We Love
Bucs196018 June 2002
When you see this film, you must remember that these were America's Singing Sweethearts and movies were very different than they are today. We were just coming off of the Great Depression and moviegoers needed something frothy and light to forget their troubles. Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald were just the ticket. Although they may not have been the greatest actors in film (especially Eddy), they were beautiful to look at and when they began to sing, you were swept away. The story line was never very important.....it was just a framing device until the next song. That's what people came to see and hear...it was all so romantic. So, put aside any thought of Academy Award acting and if it's a little bit corny, just ignore it.....instead get caught up in the sound of two of the most glorious voices in screen history.....together they epitomized the romantic ideal. After almost 70 years, it's still wonderful!!!
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Eddy & MacDonald "Pine" For One Another in the Woods!
Beautiful scenery provides a romantic backdrop for this musical love story. The role of a stout-hearted Canadian Mountie who "always gets his man"--and in this case, "his woman", too!--is ideal for Eddy, whose stiff mannerisms usually hold these MacDonald/Eddy vehicles back somewhat. As a "straight and true" type his stiffness becomes an asset. While MacDonald undresses in a tent, for example, this Mountie's mind is solely on his duty as he goes through every item of her clothes (as she peels them off) looking for the map that will tell him where his quarry is. It never once occurs to this over-sized boy scout that this beautiful woman is getting naked two feet away from him!

The opening half-hour or so is all Jeanette's and she is vibrant as a swell-headed prima donna whose every thought is of herself. MacDonald seems to really enjoy playing this caricature of a star. David Niven is barely discernible (he's not given one close-up) in his brief appearance as an unrequited suitor. His character goes from city to city to see Marie-- and to propose to her--only to be ushered to the door every time. There's also something deliciously wacky in the way Jeanette enchants everyone with her singing--they cluster around her the same way "100 Men" do around Universal's Deanna Durbin whenever she starts to sing.

But the heart of this romance is in the wilderness scenes, perched above the lakes and hills and beneath the stars, where it seems like time has stopped and all that exists are two lovers singing the echo-like "When I'm Calling You" number to one another. The story in this musical has a wonderful habit of dropping away--while the beautiful singing and orchestration draw these two hearts closer and closer until they finally kiss and profess their love. It doesn't get any cornier than this--but the rhythm of this movie is just right. The last scene with Eddy just standing there finally able to return the "call" he couldn't before is played perfectly--all in song.

The story has once again just dropped away and the two lovers are alone together again. There's a purity to this bonding that is hard to resist...
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Beyond Camp
jacksflicks14 March 2004
I'm tired of the condescending and facile "appreciations" of Eddy-MacDonald, particularly in "Rose Marie." Does no one actually pay attention to the movie?

For those who dismiss Rose Marie as a "saccharine" confection, this is an operetta. Get it? O-p-e-r-e-t-t-a. Light opera. L-i-g-h-t. No more saccharine than a Nicholas Cage vehicle like It Could Happen to You. Yes, the soundtrack for the Indian spectacle sounds, alas, like the hoochee-coochee, demanded by the box office of the time, but even that unfortunate element is an interesting document of contemporary popular taste. If one claims to have the sensitivity to make judgments about a scene, he should first know how to place it in context.

The production values someone complains about - for the first Eddy song - is a process shot, about the same quality as others throughout the film, which were state of the art for the time. So if one can shed silly presentist snobbery, the production values are fine. And the location shots are spectacular.

Perhaps the stupidest criticism is that MacDonald and Eddy were "mediocre" talents. Yes, Eddy is famous for his supposed woodenness, but I think Rose Marie shows that with good direction - like that of W. S. Van Dyke - woodenness could become stolidity and then a buffer for heavy emotions highly prized by all actors. With Eddy it was "stiffness," but the same qualities in Cooper are called "natural" by the snobs. I challenge any other actor to deal with the inner conflict between love and duty as well as Eddy in Rose Marie. The scene when he says, "You'll remember me as just a policeman" is executed with exquisite torment and brittle irony - through that so-called "wooden" countenance.

As for Jeanette MacDonald, of course she wasn't an opera singer. She had a better job! As for her "mediocre" talent, MacDonald was not only beautiful, stable and smart, she was a fine actress and had an E above high C three-octave lyrical soprano voice. That kind of voice is far from mediocre.

As for Eddy's voice, it's a little on the flat side, but it's strong and masculine. In fact, both MacDonald and Eddy had highly successful solo recital careers after their breakup. Movie build-ups last only so long. After that, it's up to talent.

No, Rose Marie wasn't Gone With the Wind, but it wasn't a 1936 Rocky Horror Show either. To call it camp or kitsch is ill-informed and incompetent. So you graduates of the David Thomson (a hack who seems to have callow film snobs in his thrall) school of criticism, get a life. Rose Marie is a fine work of it's genre - a filmed operetta, no more, no less. Watch it as that and enjoy!

Oh yes, a note about the mutual feelings between MacDonald and Eddy, again dismissed by an ill-informed reviewer: documents submitted by their children are more than just "gossip." Also, before speaking about something you know nothing about, why not check out a photo of MacDonald's beloved husband, Gene Raymond. Remind you of anyone you know?
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7/10
The Mounties always get their man
blanche-218 June 2008
Jeanette MacDonald is "Rose-Marie" in this 1936 film also starring Nelson Eddy, James Stewart and Allan Jones. The movie borrows its title from the Rudolf Friml operetta, but it does not use the plot or many of the songs. MacDonald plays a famous opera singer named Marie de Flor whose brother (Stewart), going by the last name of Flower, has escaped prison and killed a Mountie. She leaves at once for Quebec and winds up meeting - who else - Nelson Eddy, a Mountie who recognizes her immediately and believes at first that he is helping her get to a rendezvous with a man. Meanwhile, he's falling for her himself.

Nelson and Jeannette were one of the great screen teams, and even now, they have fans all over the world. Jeanette was beautiful, a good singer and a fine actress, and Nelson, while not being much of an actor, was an attractive man with a magnificent voice. Their big hit, in fact, their signature song, "Indian Love Call," is from this film, as is, naturally, "Rose-Marie." Because of the recording devices used back then and the way female singers were taught, Jeannette's lyric-coloratura suffers somewhat. Like all female singers of that era, she has a back placement for her high notes, though the middle part of her range is quite beautiful. Her obsession with Tosca - one of the opera scenes shown, and a role she also performed on stage in real life - is a curious one. She had no business singing it, and neither did the tenor, Allan Jones, who was a lyric tenor. It's for a dramatic soprano and a spinto tenor. The Gounod "Romeo et Juliette," which she sings with Jones in the beginning of the movie is much more appropriate for both of them. Eddy, on the other hand, had operatic roots, and his baritone has survived very well. They sounded wonderful together, and there was something about them that just worked, even if he was somewhat wooden. She was spitfire enough for both of them, and it made a nice contrast. My favorite part of the film is when, after her guide steals her money, Marie goes looking for the job as a singer in a honky tonk café and tries to do "Some of these Days," which she sings operatically while attempting to copy the hoochie-coochie movements of the café's resident singer.

Stewart was slowly ascending the scale to stardom, getting better and better roles - he has a couple of big scenes in this film. He's boyish, good-looking and very effective.

Today I suppose these films seem very campy, and they've surely been parodied over and over again. However, the music is enjoyable, Nelson and Jeanette are treasures, and one can't help but marvel, amidst the insanity of today, what a much simpler time it was. People were able to be lifted out of themselves for a little while with fantasy and beauty. These movies must have been doing something right. Seventy-plus years later, we're still enjoying them.
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10/10
What an incredible voice she had!
nodakbutterfly19 November 2006
I am in my 60's and would have missed this movie, but for my 87 year old mother....an opera buff. She recorded it for me and sent it along on a VHS tape which I avoided at all costs. Last night I plugged it in and have re watched it at least 8 times. I researched the famous book about them in real life, and could not believe her voice.....it was like something surreal to me. I loved this movie so much that I am now ordering ALL the movies made by America's Sweethearts. It is so hard for me to realize the personal life tragedies this pair faced. I recommend this movie to any artist, singer, or person with a tender heart and soul out there! You would not be sorry. You would be captivated.
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8/10
Singing in the Canadian Woods
bkoganbing4 December 2005
There have been three versions of Rose Marie done for the screen, a silent 1927 version and on in 1954 as well as this one. And not one of them had the same plot and not one of them repeated the same plot as the original stage version in 1923. Not that it matters because this version with Jeanette and Nelson sets the standard.

One thing I did object to is that a whole lot of the Rudolf Friml- Otto Harbach-Oscar Hammerstein II score was jettisoned. Some very nice songs were left out. Only The Mountie Song, Rose Marie, and Indian Love Call were retained. Totem Tom Tom which is done as a dance number actually has words. Because Jeanette is an opera singer in this one, arias from Tosca and Romeo and Juliet were included. And Friml and MGM house composer Herbert Stothart wrote a couple of other melodies with Gus Kahn doing lyrics. Nice, but not the real score.

In this version Jeanette is an opera singer who receives word in Montreal that her younger brother is a fugitive after killing a man. She goes to him, but on the way gets sidetracked by Mountie Nelson Eddy. He just happens to be the guy they've assigned to get the brother. I don't think I have to give any more of the plot away.

Jeanette and Nelson are in good voice and MGM splurged a little by going on location and not using any back lot sets to show the Canadian wilderness. I'm willing to bet that Rose Marie may have been the most expensive of their eight films to produce.

Three future stars got exposure in Rose Marie. Allan Jones who Jeanette would co-star with the following year in The Firefly sung the opera numbers with her. David Niven has a brief role as a stage door Johnny ready to declare his undying love for the diva. And James Stewart plays her fugitive younger brother.

Of course Jimmy Stewart was able to do this before he became typecast as all American good guy Jimmy Stewart. Three years later MGM could never have cast him this way. But his performance was definitely a big break for bigger and better roles.

Because of this film Nelson Eddy got his trademark. After he left films and concert singing and did nightclubs towards the end of his life, Nelson would always make a grand entrance replete in white tie, tuxedo, and a Mountie hat. Nelson Eddy was one of the kindest and most generous of performers in giving of himself to his public, but he least of all took his movie career image seriously. In fact he always maintained he was a singer first and film was just a medium to give his singing career more visibility.

But if you want to hear some golden voices doing some classic songs like they don't write any more than I can't recommend Rose Marie strongly enough.
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Beauty and the Baritone reunited in Canada
toddle133 February 2004
This was the 2nd film venture for Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald. Nelson, the former opera star, as a stalwart Mountie and Jeanette, playing the opera star, she never was in real life. Coasting on the phenomenal success of their first film, this set the tone for their next ones--the formula, great singing, gorgeous setting, supposedly in Canada, but actually filmed in the rustic pre tourist attraction of Lake Tahoe. The 2 stars complemented each other perfectly, a love match on screen as well as off. Jimmy Stewart featured in an early role, and David Niven, wasted as a suitor. Gilda Grey, a famous stripper, managed to wear a revealing dress, that escaped the censors. Allan Jones appeared in 2 opera sequences with Jeanette, and proved once more, he was no threat to Nelson Eddy. Beautiful music, some laughs some tears, and always Nelson and Jeanette--together.
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8/10
Musical romance with the singing sweethearts
tiger-li5 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of my favourite films. It has everything - stunning scenery, great songs, and the beautiful pairing of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette Macdonald.

The plot scenario is Jeanette as a spoilt, self-centred prima donna who cares only for her brother but no other man (as shown by her constantly rejecting a very early David Niven!). When this brother (James Stewart) gets into trouble, she leaves her operatic life to go and help him meeting a manly mountie on the way (Nelson Eddy).

Although Jeanette originally is not impressed with Eddy, she starts to thaw to him amongst the Canadian Rockies and the classic Indian Love Call. And who could not fall for Eddy when he sings Rose-Marie whilst canoeing to an Indian reservation? Or when he is the hero of the hour and a gentleman when a very wet Jeanette needs food and a tent for the night? Having seen all of the Eddy/Macdonald films, this rates as one of the best. Eddy's acting talents may not be great but they work in this role perfectly. Jeanette is beautiful with a wonderful sense of humour that shows in her every scene but especially when singing in a rough canteen! Yes - this film is unbelievably corny. Eddy's trousers are terrible and would you really forgive him for arresting your brother? However, it doesn't matter. It is two hours of sheer enjoyment and escapism that has stood, and will continue to stand, the test of time. Watch and enjoy.
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10/10
OoooooH.OOOOh...OOOH.."Rose Marie"shallow,vapid, No Way!
haustin-125 August 2005
The characters fulfil the usual requirements for a formula story. Rose Marie begins as a vitriolic,hire-fire personality;Serjeant Bruce does his job,but not without misgivings."It isn't always pleasant.The sad thing (or paraphrase)is when it hurts those you love." And he is wooden and stiff. Of course,he is! He's a policeman! This film offers quite a lot besides: operas from Gounod and Puccini, and Bruce,quoting "This our life,exempt from public haunt,finds sermons in stones,books in the running brooks..." from "As you like it"...hardly the stern Mountie who appears in the song. Leading up to this song,"The Mounties," there is a particularly robust,vigorous show of horsemanship---jumping brooks,hurdles,in a specially virile setting.And in the formula, their characters alter by the ending. Eddy is in excellent voice, probably at his best,hitting a high G in "Just for you", and I would challenge any baritone to accomplish, from head to chest tone, the portamento or change from F to lower A flat in "Indian Love Call". One criticism is that Eddy's moods change with very little transition,and there are many things not PC or legal these days. A socially oriented dialog occurs when she exclaims"I thought all this (the Nature) would make you more merciful". Bruce:"Don't ever think that Nature is merciful.Nature is the cruelest policeman.When an animal sickens, the others turn on him and kill him"

There are good supporting roles for Reginal Owens as Myerson,Regas as the guide,and Una O'Connor as Rose Marie's maid. In all this is very good entertainment and beats much that one sees or hears these days.
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Magic
artzau4 January 2001
Forget the super-sweet aspects of this film. Forget the paper-thin storyline. To jump on this film using the standards that today's audience's exact is totally unfair. This film was released in 1936 when the US was in the midst of the Great Depression and people needed mind candy that was super-sugarcoated. But, before you ring off to surf some other site, listen the music created by two rather mediocre singers. Their voices create a sound that is incredible. They did again and again too. From their biographies written by their children who discovered their love letters long after both Eddy and MacDonald were dead, it seems that the love clinches were more earnest than mere acting. But, forget even that bit of gossip. Listen to the sound that these two made, in love with each other or not. It is something magic. And, fans, we just don't see much of that anymore.
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