Circa 1861, Angelina, ruling countess of an Italian principality, is at a loss when invaded by a Hungarian army. Her lookalike ancestress Francesca, who saved a similar situation 300 years ... See full summary »
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
The small kingdom of Marshovia has a little problem. The main tax-payer, the wealthy widow Sonia (who pays 52% of the taxes) has left for Paris. So Count Danilo is sent to Paris, to stop her from getting married to a stranger, so that the danger of removing the money is averted. But this is not as easy as the ambassador in Paris has planned.Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Count Danilo leaves Madame Sonia's residence after his romantic efforts are rejected, there is a close up of him fully shutting the door. Next, when it cuts to a long shot of just Madame, you see that the door is not fully closed but is in the process of swinging shut on its own. See more »
You're charming, fascinating, delight - stop kicking me.
[pretending to be Fifi, a Maxim Girl]
Stop pinching me.
See more »
A slightly censored version was released to television in the 1950s - retitled "The Lady Dances". See more »
Andrew Sarris once wrote that "Lubitsch suggests the art of lilting waltz or bubbling champagne" and nowhere is this truer in "The Merry Widow", Lubitsch's last musical, his first transition to MGM, and my own pick for Lubitsch's greatest musical (rivalled only by either "One Hour With You"(1932) or "The Smiling Lieutenant"(1931)). It just doesn't get any better than this. Lubitsch's approach here is to exploit Cedric Gibbons' enchanting Art Deco with wit. He also displays an eye for real, human emotion within the marvellous, dreamy world. There are many highlights, including the rousing rendition of "Delia" at the beginning, Chevalier's Danilo at the Maxim's, but the most extraordinary of all is The Merry Widow Waltz, a joyous blend of gaiety and sadness. In several successive shots, Danilo and Jeanette MacDonald's Sonia are shown alone on a dance floor and then exquisitely enveloped by hordes of dancers sweeping in from all sides - then all this enchanting splendour is climaxed by Lubitsch revealing that the whole ballroom scene is the subjective dream of the lovers. What appears to be the dance of life is in fact the dance of death.
Lubitsch will later reprise the waltz in his imperishable 1943 masterpiece "Heaven Can Wait" when Don Ameche recalls it on his death bed. Not to Mention, Alfred Hitchcock in "Shadow of a Doubt" as a reminder of death and mortality.
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