The story takes place in medieval France. Poet-rogue Francois Villon, sentenced to hang by King Louis XI for writing derogatory verses about him, is offered a temporary reprieve. His ... See full summary »
Professor Stock and his wife Mizzi are always bickering. Mizzi tries to seduce Dr. Franz Braun, the new husband of her good friend Charlotte. Dr. Braun's colleague, Dr. Mueller, who has had... See full summary »
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
A silent version was produced for theaters not yet equipped for sound films. This version runs 20 minutes shorter than the sound version. The silent version was long thought lost until 1968. Historian and film preservationist David Shepard donated a copy, along with many other Paramount titles on nitrate film, to the American Film Institute. See more »
When Rudolph is leaving the Countess's boudoir after kissing her and depositing her on the chaise-lounge, the shadow of the microphone boom can be seen on the door. See more »
Certainly when you look at this film as a 1930 musical, the way that songs are integrated into the plot is a marvel, and it has a fluidity that belies the year it was made. That said, this is rather a chore to sit through, compared to the likes of The Smiling Lieutenant and One Hour With You, and despite the appeal of MacDonald in her early, earthy days, before she became partner to the eunuch Nelson Eddy.
There are three main culprits: first, a plot which just doesn't compare to the comedy-dramas of sexual tension and yearning that Lubitsch's best films offer. The others are fantasies, but this is flat out unbelievable, with too many mistaken identities, arbitrary shifts in attitude by the leading lady, and a lack of tension (since all of MacDonald's romantic choices are stinking rich). It's just impossible to care about. The second is leading man Jack Buchanan. It's not just that you can imagine Maurice Chevalier getting something innocently naughty out of the lines which might actually be charming, but as lightweight as he is, Buchanan seems too smart to believe what a doof-slash-stalker he's playing. Imagine Fred Astaire being replaced in Top Hat by Herbert Marshall, or maybe Paul Muni. And finally... at best the songs are unmemorable ditties cleverly staged. One, however, "Trimmin' the Women," could make the short list of worst movie numbers of the golden age of Hollywood. In short, be glad that Paramount compelled MacDonald and Chevalier (who she apparently disliked) to get back together in time for Love Me Tonight.
NOTE: Since viewing the film I have learned that the reels are misnumbered on nearly all surviving prints-- a fact which explains the otherwise baffling scene in the movie where Buchanan, who has already met MacDonald (IF you've seen it out of order), goes to work for her and she has no idea who he is. I'm not saying the movie would be radically better if it was in the correct order, but it would undoubtedly make somewhat more sense.
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