Circa 1861, Angelina, ruling countess of an Italian principality, is at a loss when invaded by a Hungarian army. Her lookalike ancestress Francesca, who saved a similar situation 300 years ... See full summary »
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
Minutes before her wedding to Duke Otto Von Seibenheim, Countess Helene Mara flees, on a whim, to Monte Carlo, where she hopes her luck will save her poor financial state. There, Count Rudolph Farriere is taken by her beauty, but she rebuffs him, not even looking at him. Assuming the guise of a hairdresser, he finally succeeds in seeing her, night and morning. Sparks fly, and love ensues - but can she love a lowly hairdresser? As her finances worsen though, the Duke arrives, and his money and social status seem even more enticing. Shunning Rudolph, will her story follow the operatic "unhappy ending", or can she have it all?Written by
The song "Beyond the Blue Horizon," introduced here, became Jeanette MacDonald's theme song for the rest of her life. During World War Ii she changed the line, "Beyond the blue horizon lies the rising sun" to " ... lies the shining sun" because the Rising Sun was the symbol of America's enemy, Japan. See more »
Jeanette MacDonald is referred to as a blonde early on in the dialogue. She was actually a redhead, and no attempt was made to lighten her hair to make her look blonde. Her hair photographed the dark grey red hair usually reproduced as on the black-and-white film used in 1930. See more »
This was Jeanette Macdonald's 4th film in all and 2nd for director Ernst Lubitsch both getting into their sound-stride and both with many classics still ahead of them, after all their lives had only begun. Print quality on the DVD is marvellous for a 1930 film, making me wonder why it was never shown on UK TV in the days when they used to cater for people like me.
In the gambling dens of Monte Carlo Countess Jeanette pretends to be rich when she's poor and the guy who fancies her, Count Jack, pretends to be poor when he's rich so as to be her hairdresser. Later famous variations in Paramount films were with Chevalier as her (nothing but a) tailor unintentionally masquerading as a Baron in Love Me Tonight directed by Mamoulian and the fake Baron and Countess in the sublime Trouble In Paradise directed by Lubitsch. The story goes in a few unexpected directions but ultimately all's well that ends well this was the Golden Age of course. Out of the seven songs only Beyond The Blue Horizon and Always In All Ways were truly memorable, but all were listenable to and pleasant. Zazu Pitts was as sadly underused as Jeanette's maid as was Barbara Leonard as Mitzi's in One Hour With You and Jack Buchanan managed to keep it a dark secret why he was such a big star; the film only lost a little momentum at the opera but overall everything worked well. The sets and costumes were relentlessly beautiful in fact an extremely colourful black and white. Jeanette looked radiant with her gorgeous hair Roll Over Madonna!
A lovely little film and a window on 1930 it's not a classic but it was another building block for those to come from Paramount in the next few years.
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