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 <email@example.com>
Nowadays, could we even make a comedy this sexually-tinged without tipping into sheer raunchiness? What a lovely film! It took me several films before I finally appreciated Lubitsch and out of what I have seen, The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) has quickly surpassed the also excellent To Be or Not (1942) to Be as my favorite. It has a delightful cast, especially Claudette Colbert and Miriam Hopkins as the women who find themselves drawn to Maurice Chevalier's lusty lieutenant. The script is witty, sexy, and full of the joy of youth and sensual love. You feel giddy despite yourself while watching it. If the film has a flaw, then it's that some of the musical numbers are a touch forgettable, but Colbert's wonderful "Jazz Up Your Lingerie" more than makes up for that!
And the appeal isn't limited to pre-code geeks like me. Even my dad, who generally sticks to post-1980s spy thrillers and avoids black and white movies like the plague, could not leave the living room until the movie was finished. He was laughing with, not at, this eighty plus year old film. That's how powerful the Lubitch magic is. Don't miss out!
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