Because the Baron of Chanterelle wants to preserve his family line, he forces his timid nephew Lancelot to choose one of the village maidens to wed. Lancelot flees to a monastery to escape ... See full summary »
Young Prince Karl Heinrich has spent his entire life behind the palace gates protected from the world. He has been raised in a melancholy atmosphere of strict discipline and duty, yet he often looks out at the frolics of youths and maidens who live beyond the walls. When he passes his exams, Karl is sent to Heidelberg to complete his studies. It is a heady new world of brew, song, and comradeship. Karl falls in love with Kathi, a pretty barmaid, and she reciprocates. But can the love survive their disparate backgrounds? Will Karl ever find happiness or will duty deny it to him?Written by
Thomas McWilliams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Leading actress Norma Shearer married MGM executive Irving Thalberg on September 29, 1927--just a week after this film had its premiere. They had been dating for four years prior to getting married. See more »
The opening credits spell the name of the heroine (played by Norma Shearer) as "Cathi" yet the name is spelled "Kathi" in the subtitle plates. See more »
Old couple at the window:
[tiredly, looking at King Karl's marriage procession]
It must be wonderful to be a king!
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"Drink, Drink, Let the toast start, May Young Hearts Never Part."
Before Sigmund Romberg and Dorothy Donnelly wrote their immortal score for The Student Prince, it had originally been performed as a straight dramatic work by the great turn of the last century stage actor, Richard Mansfield. Entitled In Old Heidelberg it is what we are in fact seeing here as opposed to a silent version of the musical, an oxymoron if there ever was one.
I do so love the music of Romberg and Donnelly, especially what they wrote for The Student Prince. Yet I was able to appreciate the fine dramatic work of Ramon Novarro as the prince of Karlsbad and Norma Shearer as Kathi the barmaid. They certainly were as romantic a couple as ever graced the silent screen.
Without the music, this version of The Student Prince went for characterization instead. There is a long sequence of about a quarter of the running time of the film that goes into Prince Karl's childhood with young Philippe DeLacy playing the prince as a child. We see the relationship with the very stern King played by Gustave Von Seyfertitz and later on when he's introduced to his tutor and closest friend, Jean Hersholt. Hersholt has the best performance in the film.
Novarro plays a most charming prince and Shearer is a fetching barmaid with whom he falls in love with. After the childhood prologue, the rest of the film is pretty much the same as the 1954 version with Ann Blyth, Edmond Purdom and the voice of Mario Lanza.
For reasons I don't understand MGM which held the rights to the Student Prince did not make a sound version until 1954. Odd when you consider that during the Thirties they had Allan Jones under contract who would have been wonderful in the part. Having heard him sing Deep In My Heart I can attest to that. Failing that it sure could have been a property for Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald.
I believe the German locale of the story probably had something to do with it not being filmed. Also the subject of an errant prince refusing to face his responsibilities was a big international story with the once and future Edward VIII giving it all up for the woman he loved. I can believe that Irving Thalberg and Louis B. Mayer probably did not want to anger the British market at that time.
Though I missed the Romberg/Donnelly score, I still enjoyed the performances of Ramon Novarro and Norma Shearer and the rest of the cast being transported back to Old Heidelberg under the masterful direction of Ernest Lubitsch. Try to see this if it is ever broadcast again.
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