Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Eclipse Series 8 - Lubitsch Musicals |
The Love Parade / The Smiling Lieutenant / One Hour with You / Monte Carlo
Actors: Jeanette MacDonald, Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert, Miriam Hopkins, Charles Boyer
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Genres: Comedy, Musicals & Performing Arts
Not only the man who refined Hollywood comedy with such masterpieces as Trouble in Paradise, The Shop Around the Corner, and To Be or Not to Be, Ernst Lubitsch also helped invent the modern movie musical. With the advent o... more »
Some of the great musicals of the precode/early talkie era.
calvinnme | 11/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Starting with the dawn of sound until the birth of the modern movie musical around 1934, audiences suffered through musicals that were so bad that they were cheesy such as 1930's "Golden Dawn" and the just plain awful such as the inexplicable "Howdy Broadway". A cut - or maybe two - above the rest were the musicals Ernst Lubitsch made at Paramount. This set is the debut of those musicals on DVD. They include:
The Love Parade (1929) - stars Jeanette MacDonald as the queen of a mythical country and Maurice Chevalier as her new husband, Renard. Renard, whose background has been that of a free-wheeling philanderer finds his new position as consort quite constraining. Nominated for Best Picture Oscar.
Monte Carlo (1930) - stars Jeanette MacDonald this time as a status-rich cash-poor Countess. She falls in love with someone she thinks is a hairdresser and decides to marry a wealthy member of the gentry to improve her financial position, which is desperate. However, she later finds out her hairdresser is not who she thinks he is. Enjoyable and above average, but probably the weakest of the four films.
The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - Chevalier is back, this time in the title role. His smile, meant for his girlfriend, is intercepted by a noblewoman. He is forced into a marriage with this noblewoman. However, afterwards the girlfriend shows the new wife how to win her husband's love. This is a great precode and was nominated for Best Picture.
One Hour with You (1932) - Reteams Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier. This time Chevalier is the pursued rather than the pursuer as he is Andre, the happily married husband of Colette (MacDonald). Collette's friend Mitzi pursues Andre relentlessly, and he gives in. Likewise, Colette can't resist a man in pursuit of her. Throw in Mitzi's jealous husband, and you have Andre confessing his transgression to his wife and hoping for her forgiveness. Nominated for Best Picture.
Lubitsch was one of the few people making musicals in 1931 and 1932 because the genre was so out of favor due to early poor entries. Watch these four musicals full of great precode sauciness and sophistication and find out why the Lubitsch touch is the stuff of legends."
Expensive set for the connisseur
Douglas M | 12/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This collection of pre-code Ernst Lubitsch comedy/musicals is a welcome addition to the gems which continue to appear on DVD. Ernst Lubitsch was the master of the bedroom comedy, with a famous and recognisable touch towards matters sexual which became the benchmark for many famous directors, notably Billy Wilder.
"The Love Parade", released in 1929, became the prototype of the Lubitsch musical which culminated with "The Merry Widow" in 1934, to which it has many similarities. The film stars the debonair Maurice Chevalier as an ambassador who marries luminous Jeanette Macdonald, queen of Sylvania, in her film debut. Macdonald became for a brief time the queen of the bedroom farce, long before MGM paired her with Nelson Eddy and systematically removed her sense of fun. In this film, her makeup obscures her lush beauty but no one could match her balance of sexinesss and insouciance. The film broke away from the backstage conventions of the early talkie musicals and contributed significantly to the liberation of the camera from the inertia which talkies initially brought. The print is very good.
As a follow up, Macdonald was starred in 1930 in "Monte Carlo" with the British Jack Buchanan who is no Chevalier. Buchanan has an effeminate quality which detracts from the romance. The plot is a take off of Monsieur Beaucaire, a countess falling in love with a count impersonating her hairdresser. The best moment is the staging of MacDonald in a train singing "Beyond the Blue Horizon", a song she kept in her repertoire for the rest of her life. The film is a showcase for her and she is animated and funny. The print is generally excellent but the soundtrack comes and goes at times as the actors move away from the microphone.
In 1931, "The Smiling Lieutenant" brings back Chevalier in another marital musical farce whereby he is mistaken for flirting with dowdy princess Miriam Hopkins and ordered to marry her to avoid an international scandal. Claudette Colbert plays his saucy girlfriend, a violinist with an all girl band. Colbert eventually meets the princess, takes pity on her and teaches her to "jazz up her lingerie" to attract Chevalier. The film is filled with visual tricks, smutty innuendo, particularly around Colbert's ability with her hands, and some lively songs. Colbert reveals an adequate singing voice. All the leads are terrific and the print is really excellent.
"One Hour with You" for 1932 is a remake of an earlier Lubitsch Silent and is another bedroom farce with Chevalier caught between wife Jeanette MacDonald and her girlfriend Genevieve Tobin, in rhyming couplets. The film in fact was originally directed by George Cukor but Lubitsch was not satisfied with the results and apparantly reshot much of the footage. There are some charming songs and, once again, lots of sexy innuendo. MacDonald is radiant here and her scenes with the superb Tobin are hilarious. Charles Ruggles and Roland Young are on hand too in support of the leads and are perfect as always. The print is OK.
All of these films contributed to Paramount Studios reputation as the most sophisticated of the studios. While they were critical successes, only "The Love Parade" really was an all out smash hit. The set is expensive but has no extras except some good notes on the inside sleeve of each DVD. This is disappointing given they are more worthy of preservation than many more famous box office hits."
Where It All Began
Tom S. | New York City | 02/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ernst Lubitsch is the great director who pretty much invented the sophisticated, adult film comedy, but he also pretty much invented the film musical as we now know it. I saw the first and most famous of these 4 films, THE LOVE PARADE, on TCM a while ago, and I immediately looked for a DVD of it, but there wasn't one until now. The wonderful folks at Criterion have put Lubitsch's 4 early musicals together in one great package, and it is delightful. It is also an important chapter in the history of film. LOVE PARADE (1929) was the first full-length sound film with songs incorporated into the story, and it was such a big hit that Paramount followed it up with the other 3 in this collection.
Just about every musical film director owes something to Lubitsch, from the early sound period right up to the present. Watch these 4 movies, and you will see the earliest examples of a whole lot of musical film conventions that we now take for granted. You'll also see great performances by Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Jack Buchanan, Claudette Colbert, and Miriam Hopkins. And you'll find out where several famous songs were first introduced, including "Dream Lover," "Give Me A Moment, Please," and "Beyond the Blue Horizon." Who knew? I sure didn't--but I'm glad I found out. Any fan of film history--especially musicals--should find this collection fascinating. Highly recommended."
A Delightfully Saucy Collection of Four Lubitsch Musical Tal
G. Merritt | Boulder, CO | 03/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The musical comedies of Ernst Lubitsch were "at once elegant and ribald, sophisticated and earthy, urbane and bemused, frivolous yet profound. They were directed by a man who was amused by sex rather than frightened of it--and who taught a whole culture to be amused by it as well"--Michael Wilmington, critc.
With the advent of "talkies," Lubitsch (1892-1947) was known for bringing his elegant and sophisticated "Lubitsch touch" to escapist, urbane musical comedies of sexual manners. He earned an Oscar nomination for his first sound film, The Love Parade (1929), starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, and his subsequent musical comedies Monte Carlo (1930) and The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) were considered masterpieces in the newly-emerging musical genre as well. Criterion has released a lush set of four Lubitsch musicals on DVD, including:
The Love Parade (1929).
Jeanette MacDonald stars as Queen Louise of Sylvania, who agrees to give her new husband, Count Alfred (Maurice Chevalier), all the power of a king after their wedding to prevent him from returning to Paris out of boredom.
Monte Carlo (1930).
Sexy Jeanette MacDonald stars as Countess Helene Mara, who leaves her foppish fiancé, Otto Von Seibenheim, at the altar only to soon fall for a count Rudolph Falliere (Jack Buchanan) disguised as a hairdresser in the French Riviera. One song in the film, "Beyond the Blue Horizon," became an instant hit and was released again in the 1960's when it was covered by Lou Christie.
The Smiling Lieutenant (1931).
This is the best film of the set. Maurice Chevalier returns in a super-saucy film also starring sexy Claudette Colbert, Miriam Hopkins, Charles Ruggles and George Barbier. The romantic comedy of errors tells the story of a Viennese soldier (Chevalier) who, upon smiling at his girlfriend (Colbert) in a crowd, catches the attention of dowdy Princess of Flausenthurm (Miriam Hopkins), nearly resulting in an international incident. Colbert's character instructs the Princess in how to "Jazz up your lingerie!" Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
One Hour with You (1932).
Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald return in a film also starring Genevieve Tobin and Charles Ruggles about a married couple who find themselves attracted to other people. Features "I did so want to see you in tights!"
These four highly-recommended musicals reveal a saucy and risque side of Hollywood during the golden years of 1929 to 1932. For those interested in the DVDs' technical details:
Black and White
Dolby Digital Mono 1.0