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But Oh That Mitzi....
theowinthrop8 September 2005
In the second of the four Chevalier - MacDonald films the leads are a married couple (Chevalier is a upper class doctor, of all things) who are happy together. In fact they are first seen preparing for their anniversary party. Both have friends who can spoil this. Chevalier's closest friend is Charlie Ruggles, who secretly loves MacDonald (but who is usually too nervous or intense to get anywhere with her - if she were interested). MacDonald is close to an old school friend, Genevieve Tobin, who is a continuous flirt (one can even consider her a nymphomaniac). She is married to Roland Young, but their marriage is on the rocks because of her affairs (his too - he wants to marry their maid). So MacDonald invites her friend into her home, and Tobin soon is being coquettish towards Chevalier. When she returns home, she asks him to see her on a professional (i.e. medical) problem, and proceeds to try to seduce him. This upsets Chevalier, who tries to remain faithful to MacDonald, but she (blind as she is to what Tobin is doing) insists he help her friend. Young is delighted. He is closing in on a divorce with Tobin. Finally, being weak, Chevalier gives in. MacDonald learns of this, and turns to Ruggles (!). And the film is set for some kind of resolution of these problems in sexual politics.

The music is best recalled for the title tune, "One Hour With You". It would pop up for years in Paramount film musicals (in DUCK SOUP, it is played in the sequence when Harpo Marx is doing a "Paul Revere" ride to rally the countryside, only to stop at his girlfriend's for "one hour with her."). It also appeared as the national love song of Klopstokia in MILLION DOLLAR LEGS, with Jack Oakie singing the words, "Woof bootle gik..." instead of the original words to it. However, the number that gets me is the one mentioned in the "Summary" line, which Chevalier sings to explain to the audience his dilemma regarding his loyalties to his wife versus the fascination of the beguiling Tobin. In all of his films in the 1930s he would sing some tune that dealt with the heroine or another woman: "Mimi" in LOVE ME TONIGHT is an example, as is "Louise". "MITZI" is another example of this.

The Lubitsch touch is shown throughout. One of the best moments is when Ruggles is talking to MacDonald about attending a party at their home, and learns it is a dinner party, not the costume party he is dressed for. He turns to his butler, and demands to know why he told Ruggles it was a costume party. "Oh sir," says the giggling butler, "I so wanted to see you in tights!" With bits like that sprinkled about, this film is a small treasure.
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Or to be more precise: 1 hour & 20 minutes of pleasure
wmorrow5928 June 2003
The only thing wrong with this delightful movie is that it's been so hard to find on video or DVD over the years. Despite the ongoing fame of the stars and the director, even museum screenings are rare. I was lucky enough to see One Hour with You recently along with an earlier gem called The Smiling Lieutenant (1931), another saucy Pre-Code musical comedy starring Chevalier and directed by Lubitsch, and they complemented each other nicely. The earlier film is set primarily in a mythical kingdom, populated with the sort of uniformed dignitaries and nobles Lubitsch loved to send up, while One Hour with You takes place in contemporary Paris-- although "Paramount Paris" may be the more apt phrase. Production values are comparable, and the films even share a couple of supporting players in similar roles. Still, while both are highly enjoyable, I feel One Hour with You is the more satisfying film, and for me the main reason is that Chevalier's character is so much more sympathetic here.

The cheerful Chevalier of the early '30s is always interested in one thing only, and Lubitsch's slyly suggestive material leaves absolutely no doubt as to what it might be, but that doesn't mean his Gallic lover roles were all the same. Chevalier's Smiling Lieutenant is an arrogant skirt-chaser, as obsessively horny as Pepe Le Pew and equally convinced of his own irresistibility, while in One Hour with You our leading man is more the pursued than the pursuer, perhaps a little flustered by the chase, and frankly he's more likable when he's less sure of himself. Chevalier plays a prosperous doctor, happily married to Jeanette MacDonald. They share a stylish modern home and seem quite pleased with each other, but when Jeanette's aggressively sexy friend Mitzi shows up her husband is tempted to stray; he's flattered and gratified but also perplexed by Mitzi's relentless pursuit. The good doctor's mixed feelings are obvious, and amusing. At key moments when he's alone he'll turn and address the audience, even confessing that he's confused about what to do next, and this uncertainty is an appealing character trait. Cinematically, it also marks a rare occasion (Groucho notwithstanding) when a movie character's direct address to the camera is a welcome and successful device. And it underscores the point that Chevalier Bewildered is more attractive than Chevalier the Grinning Tom Cat.

Speaking of attractive, Jeanette MacDonald is a revelation here. Those who know her only from San Francisco, or who're familiar with her prim, tightly controlled performances in the operettas she made with Nelson Eddy, will be startled to see how loose, appealing, and sexy she could be with this director and this co-star. She's adept with comedy, and surprisingly moving in the last scenes when the situation turns more serious. Jeanette's supporting cast isn't half bad, either: Charlie Ruggles is hilarious (especially when he sings) as Jeanette's long-suffering, rejected suitor, while Roland Young is a stand-out, as usual, as the cuckold professor who seems both furious and oddly amused by his situation, and whose every uttered syllable conveys icy, carefully nuanced irony. Young was one of those rare players like Claude Rains who could take a secondary role and deftly steal the show. Here, he makes his first appearance early on and returns only intermittently thereafter, but he makes every moment count.

In his day director Ernst Lubitsch was almost as famous as the stars of his films; his distinctive, sophisticated, merry style was enjoyed by audiences and celebrated by critics. Like Hitchcock or Sturges, Lubitsch himself is a presence in his work. We know from the opening moments of One Hour with You's first scene exactly who is at the helm of this picture, when a rotund Prefect of Police (George Barbier) delivers a speech to his men, warning them that people come to Paris for One Reason Only-- and coincidentally, it's the same thing that so concerns our leading man. This is fine with the Chief, of course, as long as these tourists are willing to pay hard cash. The Chief's speech is delivered in rhyme, a device which recurs throughout at key moments, usually as a lead-in to songs. The title tune is the most memorable one and became a standard, but the others serve their function: each song tells us something about the lead characters' state of mind while offering Lubitsch-style wit about the film's central themes: the joys and drawbacks of marriage and the lure of extra-marital dalliance.

Anyone seeking a good definition of the "Lubitsch Touch" could profitably begin with this movie. Still, Maurice Chevalier is very much the star of this show, and in my opinion he was never better, never more charming, than in One Hour with You.

P.S. Winter 2007: I'm pleased to add that this film will soon be available in a DVD box set, along with three other Lubitsch rarities from the Pre-Code era. Paradise for the director's fans awaits!
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"Lead Us Not Into Flirtation"
lugonian6 November 2000
ONE HOUR WITH YOU (Paramount, 1932), directed by Ernst Lubitsch (co-directed by George Cukor), premiered on American Movie Classics March 11, 1993, as part of its annual film preservation. Prior to that, it was shown on the Movie Channel in 1991. A musical comedy, it reunites Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, stars of THE LOVE PARADE (Paramount, 1929), offering them a rare opportunity playing husband and wife from start to finish, and an amusing couple at that.

As for the plot: Chevalier plays Doctor Andre Bertier, happily married man, who comes upon the flirtatious but much married Mitzi Olivier (Genevieve Tobin), who turns out to be his wife, Colette's (MacDonald) best friend in town for a visit. Mitzi's no-nonsense husband (Roland Young) suspects his wife for infidelity and has hired Detective Henry Dornier (Richard Carle) to follow her. While Mitzi makes a play for Andre, Andre's best friend, Adolph (Charles Ruggles), best man at his wedding, does the same for Colette. Situations become involved when Andre finds himself accused of having an affair not with Mitzi but with Mademoiselle Martel (Josephine Dunn) and later on, Professor Olivier visiting Andre and naming him as correspondent in his divorce trial.

Songs by Oscar Struss and Leo Robin, with interpolated music by Richard Whiting, include: "But Spring is Here" (introduced by George Barbier); "What a Little Thing Like a Wedding Ring Will Do" (sung by Chevalier and MacDonald); "We Will Always Be Sweethearts" (sung by MacDonald); "Three Times a Day" (sung by Chevalier and Genevieve Tobin); "One Hour With You" (sung by Donald Novis, Tobin, Charlie Ruggles, MacDonald and Chevalier); "It Was Only a Dream Kiss," "We Will Always Be Sweethearts" (Chevalier and MacDonald) and "What Would You Do?" (Chevalier).

This pre-production code comedy with singing was previously done in the silent era as THE MARRIAGE CIRCLE (Warner Brothers, 1924) starring Adolphe Menjou, Florence Vidor, Monte Blue and Marie Prevost, also directed by Lubitsch, which was distributed on video cassette in the 1990s. This remake was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture of 1932, but in spite of its popularity, this is nearly a forgotten movie. While Jeanette MacDonald is remembered mainly for her costume operettas at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and singing duets with Nelson Eddy in their eight films together spanning from 1935 to 1942, ONE HOUR WITH YOU offers a different Jeanette MacDonald, singing contemporary songs in modern day Paris. At times she's very funny which is a shame that she never was given the opportunity to appear in a "screwball" comedy, but this, being a "drawing room" or "sophisticated" comedy will do. Risqué dialog all around adds to the amusements, with Chevalier occasionally narrating the story to the audience, looking directly into the camera in the way comedian George Burns did on his "George Burns and Gracie Allen Show" on television back in the 1950s.

While a delightful 78 minutes, the next Chevalier and MacDonald musical, LOVE ME TONIGHT (Paramount, 1932) ranks the very best of their four collaborations as a team. Available on DVD as of 2008, and on Turner Classic Movies where it premiered February 23, 2010. (****)
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Mitzi Wants House Calls
bkoganbing29 July 2009
In the second of their four films together and the only one in which they start out as man and wife, Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald play a happily married couple who face a comic crisis in their marriage when Jeanette announces she's going to be visited by an old friend in Genevieve Tobin in One Hour With You.

What she doesn't know is that Tobin and Maurice have had a flirtatious rendezvous in one of those legendary speedy Paris taxi cabs. Tobin as Mitzi is one saucy wench whose marriage to Roland Young is coming to an end. The only question remaining is who will be caught in a compromising position first for the sake of the alimony.

The whole thing is directed with typical continental charm by Ernest Lubitsch replete with various things in the film identified as the Lubitsch touch. My favorite of those is when Genevieve gets Dr. Chevalier to make a house call, you see a shot of her feet kicking off her shoes and then wiggling in anticipation.

Oscar Straus and Leo Robin wrote most of the music, but the title song was written Richard Whiting with lyrics by Leo Robin. It's introduced during a nightclub scene by radio singer Donald Novis who occasionally did film and stage roles and then sung by nearly all the principals in the cast. Jeanette made a good selling RCA Victor recording of it.

Maurice Chevalier got to sing Oh That Mitzi which both advances the plot of the film as he tells of his dilemma between his wife Colette{MacDonald), but Oh That Mitzi and is a number perfectly suiting his style. It was part of his nightclub act forever after.

Genevieve Tobin is great as the saucy Mitzi and filmgoers probably know her best as the dowager Mrs. Chisholm who was held captive by Duke Mantee in The Petrified Forest. Tobin had to be one talented lady, that's quite a difference in parts between One Hour With You and The Petrified Forest.

One cannot ignore Charlie Ruggles a rather timid suitor who is so hoping to get Jeanette on the rebound from Maurice. He's got some very funny scenes with her.

One Hour With You is one of those sophisticated comedies depicting a world gone by. I'm not even sure in Europe if they still dress in tuxedo for dinner.
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One of the great films of the 1930's -- why isn't this available on DVD??
mseverson6 July 2006
I first saw ONE HOUR WITH YOU (1932) one magical evening in the summer of 1987. I was 19 years old; I ditched work, and drove up to UCLA on the strength of an LA Times blurb. I knew very little about Lubitsch, and had pre-conceived notions about MacDonald and Chevalier. ONE HOUR WITH YOU was one half of a perfect double bill that night with Mamoulian's fantastic LOVE ME TONIGHT (also from 1932). Both films blew me away: they have the special, magical glow of other great Paramount films from that era; the humor is racy and modern; the songs are memorable and funny; and the playing by everyone is exquisite. I've always thought of that night as being one of the best nights at the movies that I've ever had. Both films are enchanting -- I can still remember people running to talk to each other after the screenings of how much they loved them... The audience's joy was palpable throughout.

Of course, as time has past, I've caught up with the rest of Lubitsch's work -- but this film for me is the tops. (TROUBLE IN PARADISE comes a very close second.) Jeannette MacDonald for me was such a revelation. She's both knowing and naive, sexy and sweet... her final confrontation with Chevalier ("...if you're a Don Juan... than I'm a Cleopatra!") is really extraordinary: she utterly transforms herself from a mousy housewife to a believably sexy and silly siren within the span of a few seconds. (Her performance here is similar to that of Mia Farrow's performance in ALICE (1990), when Farrow first comes on to Joe Mantegna's character...) Genevieve Tobin also deserves mention as the sexually insatiable Mitzi. Her first encounter with Chevalier where she is coming on to him in the back of the tax cab ("Let's put our newspapers away and let us face that facts!") is a fantastic bit of acting. And of course Maurice Chevalier is wonderful as the doctor. I especially love his shocked, mock-horror expressions when his two women are whispering to each other, looking at him ("He can...?" "No..." "I tell you he can!")

The film is interesting also for being an early musical, before the genre had the defining imprint of Busby Berkeley and Fred Astaire . It's a musical-comedy hybrid, and as such -- there's no other musical out there like it: the film employs rhyming verse, MacDonald's operatic trilling, playful double-entendres, and Chavalier's directly-addressing the audience. No musical numbers per se (in the traditional sense), but a barrage of musical elements that make this film unique.

The only time this film has been released on home video was in 1997 when Universal briefly released a laserdisc box set called "The Lubitsch Touch," along with other classics, such as THE LOVE PARADE (1929), MONTE CARLO (1930), THE SMILING LIEUTENANT (1931), and DESIGN FOR LIVING (1933). Universal needs to get on the stick and release this on DVD! Even though this film was nominated for Best Picture of 1931/32, it's barely known today. Lubitsch's TROUBLE IN PARADISE (1932) and Mamoulian's LOVE ME TONIGHT are revived more often than this. One reason for this critical oversight might hinge on the film's authorship: George Cukor began the film directing from Lubitsch's own ructions, only later to be replaced by Lubitsch himself, mid-way through the production. Cukor took Lubitsch to court and ultimately won a co-directing credit -- though it's next to impossible to tell who directed what: it's Lubitsch's picture, without a doubt.

Being such a huge fan of a film most people haven't seen or heard of has led me to one special meeting with a fellow enthusiast of ONE HOUR WITH YOU: I was working at a poster shop in San Francisco, selling some film posters to David Packard who owns the Stanford Theater in Palo Alto. His was going to be showing ONE HOUR WITH YOU in the upcoming month, and I mentioned to that it might be my favorite American film. He said (or sung to me): "Me too! Why don't we start singing right now!?" (And then he broke into a few bars of "Oh, That Mitzi!") He said that it was one of his all-time favorites, and also told me that he feels that it's his duty to show every person he knows or lives in the Bay area ONE HOUR WITH YOU before he dies!~ I wish that Universal Home Video felt the same way!
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Art Deco classic
peterjohndean31 August 2005
I first saw this film in 1955 at a tiny art cinema in Oxford. The print was in perfect condition and the shimmering dresses and art deco were fascinating. I sat through three showings and left on a wave of good feeling which has lasted ever since. (I can still sing "Three Times a Day" in which Chevalier as a doctor prescribes pills to his patient (with its the sexual innuendo). The comparison with Mamoulian's"Love me Tonight" with the same principals is very interesting. Mamoulian sends up the aristocratic Ruritanian musical comedy while Lubitsch adores the middle class. Both in their different ways are brilliant. Both use surrealist effects to heighten a sense of unreality. This is pure entertainment in a European tradition. Genevieve Tobin is a wonderful support but her career never really took off.
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A light-hearted adulterous delight
Terrell-48 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
One Hour with You is a bit of sophisticated, amusing and perfectly executed sexual fluff. The whole point is an adventure in adultery -- schemed for, resisted, accomplished and forgiven. If anyone could make adultery into a joyful occasion for gaiety, Lubitsch is the man. And he does.

Dr. Andre Bertier (Maurice Chevalier) and his wife, Colette Bertier (Jeanette MacDonald, have been married three years…three years of madly passionate bliss. Why, they even go to Parisian parks for an evening of kissing before returning to their apartment…or more precisely, their apartment's bedroom. But Colette has a best friend, Mitzi (Genevieve Tobin), a sly minx who thinks husbands are the perfect trophies for her own bedroom, one she doesn't share with her older husband, Professor Livier (Roland Young). The professor, a dry, wry and worldly man, has no illusions about his wife. When he unexpectedly walks into the parlor of his home one day and sees Mitzi with Andre, we know Mitzi called for Andre to come over on the pretext that she was feeling badly so that she might seduce him. So Mitzi quickly says to her husband, "Darling, I'm not feeling very well." "Why should you?" the professor asks. "Oh, no, Professor," Andre says, "Madame is in a very serious condition." Says the Professor, "Why shouldn't she be? Conditions are bad everywhere."

Hovering nearby is Adolph (Charles Ruggles), the eager-man-about town and friend of both of the Bertiers, who is eager to get to know Colette even better. Mitzi, when she meets Andre, is determined to know Andre better, too. Resist though Andre does…well, as he asks us, what would you do? And Colette, when she suspects what might have happened, begins to think Adolph might be just the thing for a bit of what's good for the gander is good for the goose. And after all, Adolph tells Colette, "Any man who leaves a woman like you with a man like me…deserves it"

Does Andre give in to Mitzi? For that matter, does Colette give in to Adolph? If this movie were made after the Code, the answer would be no. But One Hour with You was made just before the Code slammed down. Do Andre and Colette confess…and does the movie end with a shrug, a laugh, a kiss? Well, of course. Adultery shouldn't be seen as anything more than a momentary temptation if two married people – married to each other, of course -- love each other.

The movie swirls through this charming tale of love and temptation with the men in white ties and the women in sleek gowns and skimpy scanties. The songs are few but light- hearted. Perhaps more importantly, a light-hearted score drawn from the songs runs through most of the film. Lubitsch even features rhyming dialogue on several occasions that is clever and pointed. When Colette tells Mitzi all about her passionate husband and her life, she and Mitzi discuss things in rhyme, as in this intriguing couplet. Says Colette to Mitzi, handing her a tiny wisp of something silk, "Oh, I must show you my new lingerie…" Replies Mitzi, "Too stunning for only a husband to see…"

As delightful, sexy and uncorseted as Jeanette MacDonald is as Colette, the movie is definitely Maurice Chevalier's. He often explains to us his dilemma…loving his wife yet with Mitzi throwing herself at him…by talking directly to us. Chevalier's Hollywood screen persona as an immensely charming and light-hearted man who sees providing satisfying, intimate pleasure to as many ladies as possible as almost a duty, makes the dish Mitzi puts him in tasty indeed.

This movie also owes a great deal to the literate and sophisticated screenplay by Samson Raphaelson. He and Lubitsch in partnership gave us some great movies…this one and The Smiling Lieutenant the year before, but most particularly Trouble in Paradise (1932), The Merry Widow (1934), The Shop Around the Corner (1940) and Heaven Can Wait (1943).
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Try all these on for size
Spondonman11 September 2004
I taped this one off UK TV in 1988 on the off chance it was good, kept it and have seen it about 10 times since. I wonder if a remastered DVD would be a little less murky as this is in places. Although a notch down from "Trouble in Paradise" it would still make it a worthy bookend, same director in Lubitsch, same studio, same year, same lightheartedness. Or maybe a triple bill with "Love me tonight", Mamoulian's masterpiece for my money, or a foursome with Sternberg's "Blonde Venus" if you feel in an even more arty mood.

The plot is pretty straightforward, turning the unfaithful wife and cuckolded husband scenario on its head with Roland Young (and his maid) pleased at the situation instead of demanding a duel to the death with Chevalier. The climax seems a little awkwardly handled, but ultimately the end credits plus a final snatch of the theme make it OK. And the music is brilliant and witty, helped by Paramount's brash Orchestra producing some marvellously angular but tuneful interpretations - even with the background noises (and similar in this respect also to the non-musical TIP).

Lubitsch re-used the plot from his film "The Marriage Circle", a silent with Adolphe Menjou, and although it has some fine moments is nowhere near as classy as the talkie version is. Being silent it has a completely different ambiance, but it's fun guessing where the songs should go.

All of the a/m films are sublime and should be on prescription!
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One hour(and twenty minutes) very well spent
TheLittleSongbird7 September 2014
Ernst Lubitsch was a great director who very rarely made a dud. While One Hour With You may not be as good as The Merry Widow, Heaven Can Wait and The Shop Around the Corner it is still well worth watching and is a very good film overall. The film does drag a little towards the end and the ending is rather abrupt and awkwardly staged. But One Hour With You also has many pleasures, a case of the pros far outweighing the cons. One Hour With You is stylishly photographed with elegant period detail, and Lubitsch directs with his usual classiness. The songs are just great and generally do deserve to be much better known, the title song is the most well-known one and it is a catchy one indeed but we mustn't forget the risqué(for the time) Oh Mitzi, the witty Three Times a Day or the charming We Will Always Be Sweethearts. The dialogue is funny and sophisticated, the rhyming was really inspired and Maurice Chavalier's talking to the camera could have been annoying but was far from it. The story is very fluffy but very light-hearted, warm-hearted and sweet and nowhere near as improbable as the story for Monte Carlo(a better film than it's given credit for but the weakest Lubitsch I've seen so far). One Hour With You is beautifully acted especially from the sassy and beguiling Genevieve Tobin. Maurice Chevalier oozes wit and easy-going charm and avoids being creepy in Oh Mitzi despite the risqué/suggestive material. Jeanette MacDonald radiates on screen and sings beautifully in We Will Always Be Sweethearts(sad that she didn't sing more) and Roland Young is deliciously ironic and induces fireworks whenever he appears. All in all, a very good film if not among the best from Lubitsch. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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Musical farce with the Lubitsch touch...
Neil Doyle15 December 2012
Ernst Lubitsch (with some "assist" from George Cukor) directs this charming and witty farce which gives Maurice Chevalier a chance to steal the film from his very talented co-stars, including Jeanette MacDonald and Genevieve Tobin.

His rendering of "Oh, that Mitzi!" (he breaks the fourth wall to speak directly to the camera--as in "Gigi" years later), and "Three Times A Day" remain the highlights of the film. The story itself is pure fluff, a tale about a happily married couple who each have a fling but remain faithful to each other for the finale. Of course, it's all pre-code morality done with style and wit.

The sprinkling of songs also includes some rhyming dialogue, always a clever mix of words and music. Jeanette's voice sounds tinny here and there's no use made of her operatic range as the songs are simple and sweet, but she's charming and appealing as Chevalier's happily married wife. It's hard to see why she couldn't suspect that her best friend Genevieve Tobin would want to seduce her husband when the woman is such an obvious flirt. But of course, the story is strictly fluff and full of many improbable moments. The rather abrupt ending seems an awkward way to resolve the whole marital situation.

Worth viewing to watch Maurice Chevalier deliver one of his most satisfying performances, especially good when addressing the audience with his problems. The catchy title song by Richard Whiting gets some nice singing moments from several players.
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tedg23 May 2008
Sometimes these old films are useful if only because they are a fossilized record of the evolution of certain film techniques.

Here it is the technique of the main character looking directly at and addressing the audience outside of the story. As this really is expertly put together, there are many discrete steps of reality woven into this. There's the standard overlay of play and song that musicals had for decades. But there's also a couple other modes: one in which the characters speak their lines in rhyme. And a more subtle level where the tone is more deliberately artificial, play-like.

Incidentally, I have mentioned elsewhere that the current reputation of Paris as a romantic place was largely manufactured by the US film industry using hidden subsidies. The idea was attract US tourist dollars as part of the Marshall plan. Before the war, it was a place of sex without romance. Romance was deliberately out of the equation. You can see that here. The one hour is all that is required for the liaison that matters.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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Good, but a lesser Lubitsch film
MartinHafer5 February 2009
Director Ernst Lubitsch made some marvelous films during the 1930s. Because they were so deftly created and the films seemed so magical and perfect, many have dubbed these films as having "the Lubitsch touch". Well, ONE HOUR WITH YOU does have many of these touches, but to me it just didn't have the magic that his best films, such as TROUBLE IN PARADISE, had--though it is still a very good film.

The film begins with a deliriously happy married couple, Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald. They defy the stereotype that married people are dull and their love wanes--that is, until MacDonald's best friend, Mitzi (Genevieve Tobin), arrives. Mitzi is man-crazy and again and again Jeanette foolishly forces her husband to be with Mitzi alone. Eventually, he succumbs to her horny overtures--though the film seems to imply they didn't go very far. In retaliation, Jeanette grabs the first pipsqueak she can find (Charlie Ruggles) and sows a few (a very few) oats of her own. Can this couple survive? Will they live happily ever after? Sure, you betcha.

This film is a musical. While none of the numbers are especially memorable and occasionally Ms. MacDonald hit some notes that made my skin crawl, the songs were very good--very light and simple with excellent lyrics. In addition, at times the dialog was spoken in rhyme--though this confused me. At times, they rhymed beautifully (almost like a Dr. Seuss book) but then the dialog became much more normal. Later, they started rhyming again. I think they should have either stuck with this or dropped it altogether. As it was, it just seemed like they lost interest in this and forgot to keep rhyming. One thing I really did like, though, was how Chevalier occasionally broke character and spoke to the camera--like he was having a dialog with the audience. This was clever and the film had enough good moments to recommend it, but still it doesn't rank among the director's very best.

By the way, I saw this on DVD but was saddened to see it only had the American version. According to IMDb both MacDonald and Chevalier also filmed a French version at the same time, as Ms. MacDonald was apparently fluent in French!
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fabulous, flirty, and frothy
didi-522 February 2009
Jeanette Macdonald is perhaps best known these days for her series of films with Nelson Eddy in the late 1930s/early 1940s, but this is a good example of her previous teaming with that naughty French export Maurice Chevalier.

'One Hour With You' features several great songs plus a fluffy plot around a married couple and misunderstood flirtations - helped a lot by other cast members Genevieve Tobin, Roland Young, and Charles Ruggles. Chevalier's charming persona is served well here in asides to the camera and a couple of great solo numbers, while Macdonald is sparky, beguiling, and a real tease.
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Chevalier & McDonald in a musical farce
netwallah2 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
A Jeannette McDonald/Maurice Chevalier musical farce, in which a happily married couple have a close encounter with inconstancy—Dr. André Bertier (Chevalier) with his wife's vivacious best friend Mitzi (Genevieve Tobin), and his wife Collette (McDonald)—almost—with his earnest but dull best man Adolphe (Charles Ruggles). It supposedly takes place in Paris, but who can tell? Like most sex farces this one has a set of misunderstandings and complications that get resolved. Mitzi gets divorced and disappears to Lausanne,.delighting her husband (Roland Young), who wants to be with the attractive maid (Barbara Leonard). It almost looks like the Bertiers will be divorcing, but suddenly they forgive each other. McDonald is a passable comedienne, but Chevalier is great, tall, dark-haired, dapper, with a huge grin that suggests he knows he's been bad but he enjoys it so much! There are a few songs, but not too many. Because some components of the screenplay—the cross-purposes with place cards at dinner and the whole tangle of laughing infidels—closely resembles parts of Pas sur la Bouche, it seems clear that they both came out of the 1920s farce the makers of the latter film credit for their original story.
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Another Lubitsh touch!!!
Delightful sex comedy from this magnificent director Ernest Lubitsh,this time he explore a unfaithfulness using a happy couple played by Chevalier and Macdonald introducing a sexy friend of her to his faithful husband and how long he takes... she also pursued by a jealous husband who wants a prove of your unfaithfully to get a other hand Macdonald is constantly harassed by a couple's friend without success....all women as gorgeous on a sexy dresses as Lubitsh would like implied...Lubitsh made a huge success in Hollywood with this kind of comedy and never was overcame by anyone...another Lubitsh's touch,fantastic movie!!!


First watch: 2017 / How many: 1 / Source: DVD / Rating: 8
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Time Well Spent
writers_reign4 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not particularly enamoured of ether Maurice Chevalier or Jeanette MacDonald but here they are at least bearable. It was possibly shot a little before Hallelujah, I'm A Bum, but the Rodgers and Hart score employs similar rhyming dialogue to that on display here which is the work of Leo Robin - a contract lyricist at Paramount he also worked with MacDonald on Beyond The Blue Horizon - who set some dots by Oscar Strauss. Ernst Lubitsch was, of course, celebrated for the 'Lubitsch touch' and it is in evidence here on this 'pre-code' entry. The story is hat of the oldest kind and poses the age-old question do infants have as much fun in infancy as adults do in adultery. Apart from the two principals there is fine support from both Roland Young and Charlie Ruggles with the rarely seen Genevieve Tobin weighing in with a nice line in femme fatales. Worth a look.
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Surprisingly modern
Huineman9 October 2015
This classic comedy by acclaimed director Ernst Lubitsch (author of such films as "To Be or Not to Be" or "Ninotchka") displays brilliant humour, catching songs and incredibly modern points of view without ever leaving the vintage atmosphere of the time it was filmed.

The issue of unfaithfulness is addressed in a way one would not suppose in a 1930's feature. Far from giving the viewer moral lessons, the movie leaves several doors open and even asks the public what would they do in a case like the one presented. The breaking of the fourth wall in doing so is another modern aspect that will take modern viewers by surprise (a very nice surprise, by the bye).

No morals, no precepts, a lot of irony and sensibility; all disguised in evening dresses, bow ties, Art Deco, classic cars and that fantastic vaudeville style. Don't judge it by its age or fashion: many present films are not as modern as this is.
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A fine hour with this one!
lasttimeisaw17 April 2014
Lubitsch's musical remake of his THE MARRIAGE CIRCLE (1924), with George Cukor as the original director, another case of creativity discord for insiders to dig, stars Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald as a happily married middle class couple. It comes off as an accomplished guidance of how to manage your marriage while encountering flirtation or crazed suitors, a tad old school but it is pure fun.

Constantly breaking the fourth wall with self-revealing asides, the smooth-talker Chevalier's obtrusive French accent and mellow chanson are contagiously prepossessing, an honest man cannot withhold his feelings towards a seductress (Tobin), his wife's best friend, on the other hand, a demure MacDonald, famous for her high-pitch soprano lilt, is an excellent option to cast as his high-strung wife, who in turn is the love interest of his husband's best friend (Ruggles), but generally she only fences with him and only becomes intimate with him as an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth to Chevalier's philandering. So see the double standard here? Wife is not allowed to exude her real affection toward a third man while husband is granted full amnesty since Chevalier asks in our face "what will you do?", it's merely biological. But it is made in 1932, what do we expect?

One singling-out scene is the awkward moment between Chevalier and Tobin's divorce-seeking husband (Young) when they first meet, Young's self-claim of himself as a man with absolute no sense of humour puts a preposterous veil of parody in this chamber comedy, all 6 main characters are well-selected, Genevieve Tobin is a natural force as a temptress with her heavily eye-lined vixen eyes, moreover, her singsongy communication with her husband is so naturalistically phoney. The mockery of woman's self-praising instinct is largely exculpatory, all the way, the film possesses an uplifting comical rhythm without overblown theatricality, and the musical numbers are soothingly intoxicating, you can have a wonderful one hour (and a bit more) with it.
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Too many flirts, not enough time!
mark.waltz17 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Husband Maurice Chevalier and wife Jeanette MacDonald are a happy couple discovered necking in a Parisian park and cannot make the police officer believe that indeed, they are a married couple. After all, what French married couple necks out in public among the single people being chased out by the moralistic police in a slightly amoral society? But indeed, Chevalier and MacDonald are happy, that is until MacDonald's flirtatious old school chum (Genevieve Tobin) shows up with her extremely serious husband (Roland Young, obviously cast against type.) Chevalier's best pal (Charles Ruggles, cast in type) has his eyes on MacDonald even though he was Chevalier's best man at their wedding. All comes out at a lavish dinner party, and afterward, Young names Chevalier in a divorce suit.

This is romantic musical comedy at its glamorous best, beautifully directed by Ernest Lubitsch with a magnificent song score to boot. The title song and "Three Times a Day" (a song about taking medication sung by Chevalier while Tobin flirts) are wonderfully fun, and "Oh, That Mitzi!" is filled with innuendo. Everything is fixed easily of course, but not before lots of pre-code no-nos occur. The stars spend part of the film speaking directly to the audience, which greatly adds to the film's charm.
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Good Pre-Code Musical
GManfred20 December 2012
A good movie often gets upgraded by a superior cast. So it is with "One Hour With You", one of director Lubitsch's lesser works but which is aided immensely by the presence of Maurice Chevalier, one of the entertainment world's greatest showman. Here he is a Parisian doctor married to Jeanette MacDonald. They are apparently very much in love. Genevieve Tobin is her flirtatious friend who catches the eye of Chevalier, which starts the engine of the plot. Along the way we meet Roland Young, Tobin's husband, and Charles Ruggles, an old suitor of MacDonald's.

"One Hour With You" is a light-hearted musical comedy which was considered 'naughty' at the time and contains many 'Lubitsch touches', many of which are tame by today's standards but unique back then as a way around accepted moral norms. I was not alive in the 30's, but I look on this type of movie to determine how far our society has come and to reflect on the American social psyche of the time.

Considered in this light, this picture is great fun and the cast of old pros give it more status than it deserves. The songs are very tuneful, although the only one that has endured to this day is the title song. Enjoyed the cast occasionally talking in rhyme and appreciated the quick pace of the film. Very worth watching.
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A weaker Lubitsch picture is still grand
Chris Haskell12 January 2012
Over the past month my wife and I have been on a Lubitsch bender. His films are completely intoxicating as he invites the viewers to a fantasy world where wealthy people cavort around and constantly get into trouble with the opposite sex.

One Hour With You is no different, as Maurice Chevalier's aw-shucks smile and French charm are on center stage as he considers an affair with his wife's best friend. It is a musical, but not in the traditional Hollywood sense; rather a more subtle approach where it just might actually be possible for these characters to break into song.

There were some down moments in this movie, which is extremely rare in anything Lubitsch. They are few and far between, however, and there are some laugh out loud moments as Chevalier justifies his actions to the audience, since, after all, he is only doing what any of us would do. The good far outweighs the less than great, and One Hour is well worth the watch.

Rating: 30/40
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Movie Odyssey Review #106: One Hour With You
Cyke21 February 2009
106: One Hour With You (1932) - released 3/23/1932, viewed 7/10/08.

KEVIN: What? They're married?! And they're in love?! But the movie just started! Yes, Maurice Chevalier and Jeannette MacDonald reunite in Ernst Lubitsch's inevitable remake of his silent film The Marriage Circle, based on the play Only A Dream by Lothar Schmidt. Naturally, the best advantage of the switch from silent to talkie is getting to hear Chevalier's accent rattling off more of Lubitsch's impeccable dialogue. Obviously not content to make a normal sex comedy, Lubitsch throws in not only musical numbers, but also several dialogue scenes made of Moliere-esquire rhyming couplets. The two leads, Chevalier and MacDonald, absolutely devour their roles. They're sensational to watch, and I look forward to a few more team-ups from them in the future. Genevieve Tobin is very good as best friend and possible home-wrecker Mitzi, the loose trophy wife who makes things interesting for our happily married heroes. Roland Young is also fantastic as Mitzi's exasperated professor husband, who's just waiting for something to happen that will justify a divorce, showing it with a deadpan delivery of the funniest lines in the movie. ("When I married her, she was a brunette. Now you can't believe anything she says.") Not to mention Lubitsch regular Charles Ruggles as the wife's dweebish old flame who's still aching to get some quality time in with the wife.

DOUG: This is Lubitsch's remake to Marriage Circle, his own earlier adaptation of Schmidt's Only A Dream. All the same players are in place: The happily married couple, the flirty best friend, her boring husband, and the wife's lusty ex. In order: Chevalier brings his usual manly Frenchy charm as Andre, and Jeanette MacDonald works her best comedy muscles as his lovely society wife Collette. Genevieve Tobin plays Mitzi, determined to get her claws into Andre no matter what it may do to him and his marriage to her best friend. Roland Young plays Mitzi's supremely uncool husband, apparently bored and repulsed by his wife's flirty antics. Charles Ruggles rounds out the cast as Collette's airheaded ex Adolph. In 99% of the movies made in this period, marriage is either something people try to get into or get out of, so what a surprise it is to start a film with the two leads not only already married, but very much in love. I like to pretend this movie is kind of an informal sequel to any of the other movies starring Chevalier and MacDonald. After the events of a movie like The Love Parade, or Love Me Tonight, or The Merry Widow, where they spend the whole movie courting each other, here we get to see them after they've settled down and are living together, still without losing their fantastic chemistry. So which version is better, silent or talkie? That's hard to say. Circle was such a wonderful discovery, a silent film where all the charming sexual shenanigans still hold up today. However, I'll go with this version, which has Chevalier and MacDonald, and a more experienced Lubitsch running the show (with an assist from an uncredited George Cukor), who adds in many songs and scenes spoken in rhyming couplets. (I thought the scene where Andre attempts to switch the placecards flowed more naturally in the original, though; here, it's a tad clunky).

Last film: Shanghai Express (1932). Next film viewed: It Happened One Night (1934). Next film chronologically: Tarzan the Ape Man (1932).
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"It's all a bore, unless I'm with you"
Steffi_P6 March 2010
Oh, it is good to see Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald together again. Since their first coupling in 1929's The Love Parade, each had been paired with a number of other stars with varying success. For One Hour with You, it is charmingly effective to see them as an established couple rather than two singletons meeting and falling in love. Both have matured and improved in the years since their first appearance together, and they make a delightfully appropriate match.

Chevalier is boundlessly entertaining as always. There seems to be no end to the amusingly exaggerated gestures and utterances he can come out with. MacDonald, who in her earlier pictures had had an unintelligible (albeit beautiful) operatic singing voice, now delivers her vocals with clarity or character. She has also refined her comedic sensibilities, and is almost a match for Chevalier in quirkiness. And this is perhaps the best supporting casts the two were ever aligned with. Genevieve Tobin is not a well-known player, but she is marvellous here, projecting a kind of confident, overbearing flirtatiousness. Listen to the way she pronounces "sex" in the cab scene – she says it in the sense of male or female, but she is clearly thinking of its other meaning. Playing her husband, Roland Young is full of little mannerisms that are inexplicably funny, and Charles Ruggles is superbly creepy in the role of Adolph.

Director Ernst Lubitsch, in spite of the increasing freedom of camera movement, appears to have simplified his technique as the talkies have progressed. Much of One Hour with You is shot in long, static takes. This is all the better to show off the superb talents of the stars, and their routines are allowed to play out undisturbed. That is not to say Lubitsch is not thinking about what he is doing. His shot composition is, as usual, geared towards lucidity, minimalism and aesthetic beauty. The images contain nothing to distract, they simply look good and focus all our attention on the performers.

At the time, Paramount was at the forefront of developing the screen musical, and in the early years of the talkies we see the genre becoming more abstract and pure. One Hour with You is famed for its rhyming dialogue, a great device which perks up potentially dull scenes and keeps the musicality alive, but there is more going on besides. There is a neat use of incidental music based on the melodies of the songs, which is used to comment not only tonally but also verbally on each situation. For example the tune of "What a Little Thing Like a Wedding Ring Can Do" is played in a number of different styles at appropriate moments, reminding us of the song's lyrics in a new context.

Chevalier and MacDonald would make a few more pictures together, and indeed they made better pictures together, but One Hour with You is perhaps the pinnacle of their screen partnership because it is the picture in which they worked best together as a couple. MacDonald would soon go on to an even more famous and prolific pairing with Nelson Eddy, who while pretty good was no Maurice. And Chevalier was to return to his native France, where in any case his advancing years began to exclude him from playing romantic leads. One Hour with You is not an outstanding musical as the genre goes, but it is classic Chevalier and MacDonald.
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Best Forgotten and Buried
William James Harper23 February 2010
You can have the best directors, costumes, set designs and musical score in the world, but nothing is going to take away from the fact that this movie celebrates infidelity and makes light of it. As such, it only goes to show that the values of Hollywood film makes haven't changed that much since the 30s. No wonder the Hayes Code put a halt to this moral decay if this is the sort of stuff that was being cranked out. It's not "sophisticated" or "clever" as those who have no moral compass would have you believe. It's immorality glorified at worst or at the very least dismissed as nothing serious enough to break up a marriage.

I was expecting a light delightful musical instead what I got is an improbable plot, characters totally unbelievable and a music that was thoroughly forgettable. This "gem" can stay buried forever as far as I am concerned. What a total let down.
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Chevalier at his best!
JohnHowardReid2 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"One Hour With You" which seemed so fast and so risqué when I first saw it back in 1955, now looks somewhat slow and even tame. Nonetheless, there is still a lot that provides amusement and solid entertainment in the film. If the central situation is no longer as amusing as it was and if the film seems somewhat stage-bound by an excess of dialogue (some of it delivered at a rather slow pace), there is still some witty lines and ingratiating performances — particularly by Maurice Chevalier, Genevieve Tobin, Charlie Ruggles and in a brief appearance at the very beginning of the film, George Barbier. Mr. Young is agreeable but belongs to the slow delivery school and as for that arch songstress, Jeanette MacDonald, she seems to have strayed into this confection from an altogether different film, her acting is too studied and her singing too operatic to harmonize with the other members of the cast. Still, once accepted, she is not too much of a liability. Chevalier is perfect, both in song and performance, and has just the right light yet mock-serious approach to both. The songs are entrancing and the orchestrations a delight — thank heavens Lubitsch uses them and other background music to underscore most of the action. When there is no music, the proceedings are sometimes rather heavy going.

Lubitsch fans will revel in this film. There are plenty of examples of his famous touch: characters walking up and down stairs, and especially his use of off-screen action, or bits of business like Chevalier and MacDonald switching the light on and off in their bedroom.

The costumes are dated but attractive. The soft focus photography shines on a properly proportioned theatre screen but does not come across so well on TV. The songs, music and orchestrations are feet- tappingly delightful, the art direction is attractive and production values leave nothing to be desired.
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