Maria and Karl Lang are the singing duo of Vienna. Maria is very flirtatious and Karl very jealous. Karl decides to masquerade as a Russian guardsman and attempts to make Maria flirt with ... See full summary »
Maria and Karl Lang are the singing duo of Vienna. Maria is very flirtatious and Karl very jealous. Karl decides to masquerade as a Russian guardsman and attempts to make Maria flirt with him - to test her loyalty to him - as the Russian, Karl makes a vigorous attempt to seduce Maria. For a moment she accepts then rejects. Karl is left in turmoil... Written by
Nelson Eddy was always considered a dull non-actor with a nice voice, no histrionic match for his usual co-star Jeanette MacDonald (who became increasingly coy and diva-ish with every passing movie). Here, opposite Rise Stevens in a musical updating of Molnar's "The Guardsman," he gets to exercise some hitherto unknown comic energy, and he's quite good-- not up to Alfred Lunt, perhaps, who played the role in MGM's 1931 non-musical version, but pleasingly hammy and with genuine comic timing. Stevens has a nice personality and, of course, a lovely Met soprano, but she's unflatteringly photographed, and she's playing a not very likable character. With minor roles given to Nigel Bruce and Florence Bates, Eddy and Stevens are pretty much the whole show, and they navigate the Oscar Straus melodies (and a few others) and worn marital-discord plot expertly. Made during the Hays Code years, it's less spicy than the original -- we're never in doubt as to whether the wife realizes her husband's exploits or not -- and takes place in a mittel-European never-never-land that never, never intrudes on reality. Once you get used to all the artifice and MGM overproduction, it's quite enjoyable. And it suggests Eddy may have had a productive career in comedy.
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