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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 »
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 »
To introduce French film star Annabella to American audiences, 20th Century Fox got a European type product as a fitting vehicle for her. And to play the butler who goes to Parliament, Darryl Zanuck obtained the services of William Powell from MGM.
Like that other favorite butler role that Powell essayed in My Man Godfrey, Powell is a butler with a social conscience, a fact he keeps hidden from his employers Henry Stephenson, Helen Westley and their daughter Annabella. How he kept secret the fact that his left wing party has nominated him for a seat in the Hungarian Parliament is beyond me. Nevertheless on election eve the family learns that Stephenson will be returned as Prime Minister and Powell will be occupying a seat on the back bench.
The Baroness And The Butler is the kind of film that would have been made in any number of European countries, a delightful bit of Frou-Frou that definitely did not have any relation to Hungary in 1938 with Admiral Miklos Horthy running things as a fascist learning military dictator. Those parliamentary elections have about as much relevance as those that were still going on in Nazi Germany where Reichstag elections were dutifully held with only one party being allowed to participate.
Still Powell and Annabella are nothing less than charming and capable players and they pull this film through and you can actually enjoy it if you'll completely suspend disbelief. Of course Powell and Annabella are in love, but she's unhappily married to a philandering Joseph Schildkraut. And Schildkraut like Captain O'Shea in Ireland is going to make the scandal make his career. As usual Schildkraut is letter perfect playing the part of an unscrupulous schemer, characteristics he patented at the height of his career.
If you're a fan of the stars you'll enjoy The Baroness And The Butler.
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