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Marianne de Beaumaniour is on her way to New Orleans from Paris to inspect the plantation she inherited from her uncle. On the ship with her are bondsmen, that are to be sold for slavery. Charles, Duc de Villiers, a political enemy of the king, is also aboard posing as a bondsman. Charles is bought by Marianne's plantation manager and she is quickly taken by Charles' charm. Marianne soon discovers Charles' true-identity and she sets him free, before, the French officers find him. Marianne decides to sail back to Paris with the Police Captain on the ship, 'New Moon', but, they must first stop at Martinique. After Martinique, the ship is invaded by pirates. Marianne is shocked to see that Charles is the leader. That night, a fierce storm occurs, and everyone is ship-wrecked. Now, Charles is the leader and the fun begins... Written by
A different kind of twilight saga with music and stout-hearted men
Having performed in "New Moon" in summer stock, I watched the 1940 version of this Sigmund Romberg operetta with great interest. I confess I don't remember any of the story since I was in it 35 years ago in the midst of many other summer stock productions. But what I do remember is that "New Moon" needs great voices and opulent production values. Our production values consisted of a bunch of men standing outside the entrance to the barn, which was covered by a curtain, and yelling to indicate the fight on board ship.
The "New Moon" contains some of the most beautiful music ever written, including "Lover Come Back," "Wanting You," "One Kiss," the rousing "Stout-Hearted Men," and my favorite, "Softly, As in the Morning Sunrise." So who better to perform it than those songbirds of the silver screen, Nelson Eddy and Jeannette MacDonald.
The story has to do with dissidents from France, in the days of the revolution, who are sold as bond servants in Louisiana. They are led by Philippe, Duc de Villiers (Eddy), who has planned their escape back to France via a ship, the New Moon. Meanwhile, he's fallen for Marianne (Jeanette MacDonald), and she for him. When the bond servants make their escape, Marianne and her aunt (Mary Boland) accompany them back to France with women who are traveling to become brides. When the ship is attacked, the dissidents and the women find themselves in a new world.
In the film, the characters of Alexander and Julie are reduced to bit parts, though their song "Gorgeous Alexander" plays in the background. The roles of Robert and Philippe have been combined, giving Eddy both the lead baritone song and the tenor song "Softly." Several songs have been cut as well as dances.
However, the best-known songs are present; the songs cut, with the exception with "The Girl on the Prow," are ditties. Eddy is in magnificent voice. I'm not a huge fan of MacDonald's singing - it's a thin voice - but she's beautiful, a fine actress, and great with Eddy.
Someone mentioned that Eddy and MacDonald are more "mature" here - I actually didn't notice.
Yes, the dialogue is corny, but these operettas were about the music. If you want to hear some beautiful songs in a film starring one of the classic teams of film history, "New Moon" is for you.
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