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Robert Z. Leonard
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
Saw this on Friday,13 December 1940 in Birmingham,a wonderful escape from the intense bombing. Eddy comes again in very fine voice,but not quite up to the standard of "Naughty Marietta," the first of the duo's film operettas. He has obviously gained significant weight: for example, he navigates with difficulty the gunwale of a ship which his comrades and he are attacking with strangely no casualties. The hit song in this operetta,which would not,I think,benefit from color because most of its takes are either at night or interiors, is "Wanting You",which the duo pulls off quite nicely.However,his emotional reactions during this piece,although adequate at the embrace,appear rather automatic,and do not compare with Allan Jones' tenderness in "Tomorrow is another day" (Day at Races,1937) or even the Red Shadow's pouring out his heart in the dated 1929 "Desert Song".His acting skills leave something to be desired:he turns his back on Jeanette during her vocal response,and shows deficiencies in emotional reaction. There is a marked antiquatedness in the dialog as in Jeanettes"I'll try my powers" when asked to sing "Paris" at the film's beginning, or her "Spare your minions!" when offered help in the captured ship. At times they are distinctly looking their ages.He is no longer the angular, gangling young Captain Warrington (lean and muscular) of "Naughty Marietta",but considerably "filled out." All the same,this is delightful escapist musical romance,with pirates, secret police,the French Revolution,sailing gunboats,Caribbean Islands,moonlight and beaches etc. I would strongly recommend this as a video played through an equalizer and amplifier perhaps with a sub-woofer,since the MGM musical recording is extremely good for the time.Romberg's operetta is not as classic as Herbert's "Naughty Marietta" and something is lost from the stage version with all its colorful choruses,reprises,but this is made up for in action and motion not practicable on the stage.
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