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The Loves of Madame Dubarry (1935)

I Give My Heart (original title)
Jeanne works at a millinery shop. She is sent to Louis XV's palace with a hat for Madame de Pompadour, then meets a musician at the park and they fall in love, despite the fortune-teller announcing she will become rich and live in luxury.

Director:

Marcel Varnel

Writers:

Roger Burford (script), Paul Knepler (original musical play) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Gitta Alpar ... Madame DuBarry
Patrick Waddington ... René
Owen Nares ... Louis XV
Arthur Margetson ... Count Du Barry
Margaret Bannerman Margaret Bannerman ... Marechale
Hugh Miller Hugh Miller ... Choiseul
Gibb McLaughlin ... De Brissac
Iris Ashley Iris Ashley ... Margot
Hay Petrie ... Cascal
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Cicely Paget-Bowman Cicely Paget-Bowman
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Storyline

Jeanne works at a millinery shop. She is sent to Louis XV's palace with a hat for Madame de Pompadour, then meets a musician at the park and they fall in love, despite the fortune-teller announcing she will become rich and live in luxury.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

operetta | See All (1) »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 November 1935 (Croatia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Loves of Madame Dubarry See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Connections

Featured in Elstree Story (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

Gräfin Dubarry
(1879)
Music by Karl Millöcker
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User Reviews

 
A Forgotten Gem
20 December 2016 | by brendangcarrollSee all my reviews

I have finally seen this film thanks to the recent DVD release by STUDIO CANAL of a fabulously pristine archive print (perhaps the only one extant?) of what is a rarely-seen film operetta, and what a delightful surprise it was.

Gitta Alpar is well known to record collectors as one of the most remarkable singers of the late 1920s, and a worthy partner of Richard Tauber, Joseph Schmidt and Marcel Wittrisch among other great tenors, yet her few films are almost impossible to see.

This one, made in Great Britain in 1935, is possibly her best and is an effective and imaginative film treatment of Karl Millocker's Die Dubarry, a popular operetta from the late 1870s and perhaps the only work for which he is known today.

Alpar had starred in a new, revised stage version of the work prepared by Theo Mackeben with music from the original work, "Gräfin Dubarry", as well as other works, and a new text was written by Paul Knepler, Ignaz Michael Welleminsky and E. M. Cremer. This was first given at the Admiralspalast Theater in Berlin on 14 August 1931 and formed the basis for the film version, retaining the new script with additional dialogue by Kurt Siodmak (brother of director Robert Siodmak and later creator of some of Universal's greatest horror films including THE WOLF MAN in 1941). Theo Mackeben was the musical director for this film, adapting his 1931 stage score.

Unusually, this was not an English-language version of a pre-existing German film but an entirely original work. However because Alpar was Jewish, it was never released in Germany, which was by then subject to Nazi racial laws.

The film itself is a highly elaborate and faithful production and gives perhaps the most vivid representation of Mme Alpar's gifts.

However, it is also clear why she did not go on to enjoy further success in British films because her heavy Hungarian accent and idiosyncratic English pronunciation make much of her dialogue difficult to understand.

Her singing on the other hand recorded very well and post-dubbed to her mostly accurate lip-synchronisation, and is truly exceptional.

Varnel's direction is fluid and imaginative, the sets and costumes lush and elaborate and the photography (by Claude Friese Greene) is luminous and shows Alpar to considerable advantage.

As a filmed operetta, it stands up well and bears comparison to those by Tauber made contemporaneously, which begs the question - why did no one think to pair Alpar with Tauber in a film? Both were under contract to ATP at the same time! The supporting cast (with the exception of Owen Nares) is largely forgotten today but provides effective characterisations.

The film moves along at a swift pace and all of the hit numbers of the stage work are present.

Alpar had a tragic career end.

Her husband, German matinée idol Gustav Frohlich (famous today for starring in METROPOLIS), who was keen to curry favour with Goebbels, agreed to divorce his Jewish wife and so she (with their daughter) left for exile in England.

When this film failed at the box office, she made a few more films (all of which also failed to ignite any interest) and she subsequently moved to Hollywood where (apart from a small cameo where she is barely seen, in "The Flame of New Orleans" (1942, starring her old friend Marlene Dietrich, who insisted she be hired) she made no more films and was effectively forced into premature retirement.

She spent the rest of her life as a singing teacher, dying in Los Angeles in 1991 at the age of 91.

This long forgotten gem shows what a glittering talent she was and is highly recommended.


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