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The Smiling Lieutenant (1931)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance, Musical | 1 August 1931 (USA)
An amorous lieutenant is forced to marry a socially awkward princess, though he tries to keep his violin-playing girlfriend on the side.

Director:

Ernst Lubitsch

Writers:

Leopold Jacobson (operetta), Felix Dormann (operetta) (as Felix Dörmann) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Maurice Chevalier ... Lt. Nikolaus 'Niki' von Preyn
Claudette Colbert ... Franzi
Miriam Hopkins ... Princess Anna
Charles Ruggles ... Max (as Charlie Ruggles)
George Barbier ... King Adolf XV
Hugh O'Connell ... Niki's Orderly
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Storyline

Lieutenant Niki of the Austrian royal guard has a new girlfriend, Franzi. He's crazy about her and is smiling at her while on duty in the street. King Adolf and his daughter Princess Anna from the neighboring kingdom of Flausenthurm drive by, and Anna intercepts a wink meant for Franzi. She falls for Niki, marries him (he has no choice in the matter), and whisks him off to Flausenthurm. Franzi follows and enjoys a brief affair with Niki before Anna finds out. Franzi, much more experienced in the ways of the world, gives Anna lessons on how to win the affections of her husband. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

1 August 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El teniente seductor See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(cut) | (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since, but because of complicated legal entanglements, this title was withheld from television presentation for many years. The restored version was first released on DVD 12 February 2008 as one of 4 features in Criterion's Lubitsch Musicals collection, and has since that time has also enjoyed occasional presentations on cable TV on Turner Classic Movies. See more »

Goofs

In the latter part of the movie Chevalier bounds up a grand staircase painted to appear as marble but the loud clomp-clomp-clomp of his shoes reveals it to be just wood. See more »

Quotes

Lieutenant Niki: When we like someone, we smile. But when we want to do something about it, we wink.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A version in French with dialogue and lyrics by 'Henri Bataille (II)' played in New York City, New York, USA on 15 October 1931, and was a big hit in Paris. It probably was a dubbed English version, but slightly shorter at 2,476.80 m in length. See more »

Connections

Referenced in John Loves Mary (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

Toujours l'Amour in the Army
(1931) (uncredited)
Music by Oscar Straus
Lyrics by Clifford Grey
Sung by Maurice Chevalier twice
See more »

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User Reviews

More sex per minute ...
7 March 2008 | by ilprofessore-1See all my reviews

There is more real sexuality between male and female in five minutes of a Lubitsch musical than in two and a half hours of any average film you're likely to see today. Needless to say, there is no nudity. It's all done with innuendo and the extraordinary degree of energy and physical magnetism that Lubitsch manages to elicit from all his actors. For once in a film, you actually feel that these extremely attractive young people can hardly wait to go to bed with each other, and when they do (off-screen of course) the result is … transformative. When they burst out in song, as they do on the slightest provocation in a Lubitsch musical, it is because they are full of emotions they can no longer contain. There's nothing dirty or smutty whatsoever in the Lubitsch Touch, as there is sometimes in the work of his disciple Billy Wilder. Lubitsch's characters explode with life, the joy of being young and in love. There are many great film directors, but not one has ever been able to create the kind of sexual energy that Lubitsch puts into all his films. Silly as the plots may be, mediocre as most of the songs are, his films bristle with the romance and humor of life.


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