7.7/10
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33 user 25 critic

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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Stars: Florence Vidor, Monte Blue, Marie Prevost
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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

The operetta by Felix Dormann and Leopold Jacobson opened in Leipzig, Germany, on 31 May 1907. An English version, entitled "A Waltz Dream", with music by Oscar Straus and English book by Joseph W. Herbert, opened in New York City, New York, USA, on 27 January 1908 and ran for 111 performances. It is not known if any of Straus' music from that production was used in this film. The songs, however, had a new lyricist and new titles. 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: [singing] I found, at home, ra-ta-ta, ta-ta-ta, ta!
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 The Men (1950) 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

 
Sublime, and almost immoral.
28 February 2000 | by David-240See all my reviews

This film is sheer perfection - the Lubitsch Touch is here in spades. This must be one of the most charming films ever made, and it is technically brilliant too for the early talkie era. A fabulous show-case for the talents of three new Paramount stars - Maurice Chevalier has never been better, Claudette Colbert is buoyant - and Miriam Hopkins is an absolute marvel as the innocent princess. When will she be given the adulation she deserves - certainly one of the best actresses of her generation. And George Barbier is also brilliant as her father.

This film could only have been made in the pre-code days - it is very very naughty. The mating pillows is only one example of many sexual innuendos and symbols. But it is all too charming to be offensive to even the most prudish person. One of the best films of the early Thirties.


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