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.,
Lord Frederick Barker is the British representative to the League of Nations. Current geopolitical tensions, which could lead to war if not dealt with, have him preoccupied with work, he more often than not feeling the need to deal with issues rather than delegate them to subordinates. As such, his wife, Lady Maria Barker, is feeling neglected, Frederick, totally devoted to and in love with his wife, unaware of her feelings. While he is in Geneva for work, she secretly flies to Paris under an assumed name to deal with her emotions with her old friend, the Grand Duchess Anna Dmitrievna formerly of Russia, the only person in Paris who knows her true identity. The Grand Duchess' general role in her social circle is to facilitate good times for others, with unspoken discretion. It is at the Grand Duchess' salon that Maria meets playboy Anthony Halton. While spending the evening together, Maria and Tony fall in love with each other, with Maria, under the circumstances, refusing to divulge ...Written by
The Lubitsch touch is omnipresent in this relatively unknown but extraordinary romantic comedy. The theme of a potential marital infidelity of a disaffected upper class wife (a gleaming Marlene Dietrich) is dealt with unusual sophistication and insight, building up slowly to a brilliant denouement, while the core dilemmas and the predicament of the main character are continuously and subtly underscored. The confrontations between the characters are a delight of restrained pathos, whereas Lubitsch, unsurprisingly, perfectly recreates a confined world of rigid social norms that suppresses any emotional profusion. All the performances are top notch, the secondary characters are equally memorable and the whole film is pervaded by the genius of one of cinemas most charismatic directors, Ernst Lubitsch. One wishes that modern romantic comedies had only maintained even a fraction of the wit and incisiveness that Lubitsch established as a norm in the 30s.
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