7.4/10
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31 user 18 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

On TV

Airs Tue. Jan. 29, 1:00 PM on TCM

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 Marcel Vallée ... L'ambassadeur (French Version)
Una Merkel ... Queen Dolores
Danièle Parola Danièle Parola ... La reine (French Version)
George Barbier ... King Achmed II
André Berley 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 George Davis ... L'ordonnance (French Version)
Sterling Holloway ... Orderly Mishka
Donald Meek ... Valet
Edit

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:

The musical that set all the standards. See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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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, 31 December 1949

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,014,620
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jeanette MacDonald spoke fluent French. A French-language version was filmed at the same time and released in Europe. Between the two versions, the film was a big money maker. See more »

Quotes

[Presenting a dog to the courtroom]
Prosecuting Attorney: Exhibit 2, please. Now, generals of the jury, I will prove with this exhibit...
Defense Attorney: Your honor, I object! I object to having this witness called an exhibit!
Prosecuting Attorney: She IS an exhibit!
Defense Attorney: He's a witness!
Prosecuting Attorney: She is not!
Defense Attorney: He is!
Judge: Objection sustained. From now on, the prosecution will refer to Exhibit #2 as Witness #1.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A French version of this film, also starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, was filmed at the same time as this one. See more »

Connections

Version of The Merry Widow (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

If Widows Are Rich
(1905) (uncredited)
Music by Franz Lehár
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Sung by Jeanette MacDonald
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A superb classic production of this Lehar romantic operetta
1 February 2004 | by ducklinguk1See all my reviews

Forget that this classic film was made forty years ago! You will also forget that it is in black and white from the moment that 'the curtain goes up' because of the wonderfully convincing performances and the romance of the music - just surrender to it - even the make-believe fantasy of the story; be a fly on the wall and let yourself be swept along as the scenes unfold at good pace.This is beautifully directed by Lubitsch whilst Vajda and Raphaelson have produced a great script.MGM built some wonderful sets - the opulence of the King of Marshovia's palace is fun with the lovely cast crowns on the huge doors ( a bit 'Wizard of Oz'ish'!) and the great dance sequences at the Embassy Ball may have influenced others 20 or so years later for 'My Fair Lady'. There are some lovely humourous touches and every performance is polished right down to the gypsy violinist. The music is wonderful but at the top of the credits are performances by Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier which are totally believable. We need to remind ourselves that when this was made in 1934 the film industry was not long into its infancy and despite the absence of all of today's surround sound - the distraction of colour -and all the technical 'advances' - this is a little masterpiece. You can hear clearly every word (what a refreshing change from todays films!!)and this delightful Lehar masterpiece rolls along on the great and convincing performances with the romance atmosphere of the music tugging at your heartstrings. Those without hearts or strings give this a miss - but sadly if you do I believe that you will be incomplete because you will have denied yourself the thrills,fun and fantasy of a delightful, beautifully performed 'once upon a time' romance.


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