7.2/10
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34 user 19 critic

The Merry Widow (1934)

Passed | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 2 November 1934 (USA)
When a small kingdom's main tax payer leaves for Paris, its king dispatches a dashing count to win back her allegiance.

Director:

Ernst Lubitsch

Writers:

Ernest Vajda (screen play), Samson Raphaelson (screen play) | 7 more credits »
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Maurice Chevalier ... Prince Danilo
Jeanette MacDonald ... Sonia
Edward Everett Horton ... Ambassador Popoff
Marcel Vallée ... L'ambassadeur (French Version)
Una Merkel ... Queen Dolores
Danièle Parola ... La reine (French Version)
George Barbier ... King Achmed II
André Berley ... Le roi (French Version)
Fifi D'Orsay ... Marcelle (French Version)
Minna Gombell ... Marcelle
Ruth Channing ... Lulu
Pauline Garon ... Lola (French Version)
George Davis ... L'ordonnance (French Version)
Sterling Holloway ... Orderly Mishka
Donald Meek ... Valet
Learn more

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Storyline

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 <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Let Joy be Unconfined! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Una Merkel later appeared as Kitty Riley in the 1952 film version of The Merry Widow (1952), starring Lana Turner and Fernando Lamas. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Count Danilo: You're charming, fascinating, delight - stop kicking me.
Sonia: [pretending to be Fifi, a Maxim Girl] Stop pinching me.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A slightly censored version was released to television in the 1950s - retitled "The Lady Dances". See more »

Connections

Featured in That's Entertainment, Part II (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Melody of Laughter
(1905) (uncredited)
Music by Franz Lehár
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Sung by Jeanette MacDonald
See more »

User Reviews

Lubitsch's greatest musical
19 December 2002 | by KalamanSee all my reviews

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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

2 November 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La veuve joyeuse See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$329,180

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,014,620
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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