In 1917 Lt. Bill Gordon is headed for France when he meets and becomes friendly with Joel Carter, niece of the Asst. Secretary of War. Finding out that he is an expert on codes, she gets ... See full summary »
William K. Howard,
The original play, "Jean," opened in Vienna, Austria, on 23 December 1936. An English adaptation called "The Lady Has a Heart" by Edward Roberts, opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 26 September 1937 and closed in December 1937 after 91 performances. The opening cast included Elissa Landi as Countess Katrina, Vincent Price as Jean (name changed to Johann in the movie), and Lumsden Hare as Count Albert. See more »
Early in the film, Powell's character can be seen using a tea trolley with a large map of and coat of arms prominently displayed on its back. Both represent Australia, not Hungary, where the film is set. See more »
Hungarian Dance No.4 in F Sharp
Music by Johannes Brahms
Played by an unidentified violinist at the charity party
Reprised by an orchestra for dance music at Katrina and Georg's ball See more »
A strange amalgam of accents and a script that often just doesn't make sense.
The Baroness and the Butler" is a film set in Hungary. However, the accents by the various actors are confusing to say the least! None of the cast was Hungarian and most of the actors sounded like Americans--with the exception of Joseph Schildkraut (an Austrian) and Annabella (A Frenchwoman, though her accent is bizarre and difficult to understand). I really wish the film was close captioned...it needed it! I also wish the director had re-shot many of Annabella's scenes as she needed to be clearer and easier to understand. She might have been a lovely person in real life--but she was a terrible actress in English language films.
The story is utterly ridiculous--so just be prepared to suspend disbelief and watch. The story is set in the home of the Baron (who is also the Prime Minister) and his privileged family. Their head butler is perfect and efficient (William Powell) and this sense of perfection is thrown for a loop when they learn that this butler was just elected to Parliament--as the opposition leader! How could the butler run for Parliament and NO ONE realize it until he's elected?! Again...you must turn off your brain and just accept this. What you also must not question is the notion that the butler will CONTINUE to be the butler AND lead the opposition at the same time!! It's all completely ludicrous and the only aspect of this silly plot I liked is how it showed just how completely clueless these nobles and their families were. After all, they act as if the butler and all their staff were 100% happy robots! What follows is a strange and even more unbelievable romance that blossoms from out of nowhere-- nowhere except the strange mind of the writer.
So we have a ridiculous story and a leading lady who needs closed captioning. What did I like about the film? Well, as usual, William Powell is impressive even if the script isn't. As usual, he's polished, likable and makes his acting seem natural. He manages to make a crappy script work...kind of.
So how could this have worked well? The butler could have instead come forward about running for office and then the fireworks could have exploded. Then, after winning, the film could have worked just fine. This would have at least taken care of that problem with the script. As for the romance....well, it was simply doomed and shouldn't have been in the film at all.
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