"Frankly...upon buying this dvd, I had high hopes...but they were all surpassed by the material...I only had seen the young (well not so young, because he arrived to Hollywood in 1929, when he was over forty years old) Maurice Chevalier in Lubitsch's marvelous "The Smiling Lieutenant" (1931) and "The Merry Widow" (1934), both great landmark films & big achievements.... but "Love Me Tonight" is THE "Gem" of "The Crown's Jewels."This must be the greatest pairing of Chevalier and MacDonald... Having not seen either "The Love Parade" (1929) nor "One Hour With You" (1932), I cannot say it 100% sure...but I'm pretty sure anyway.I feel that if it wasn't for this musical, there wouldn't be a "Gigi", "My Fair Lady", "The Harvey Girls", "Easter Parade"...or whatever...this one is the grandparent of all movie musicals...either transferred from Broadway or not...it's just perfect. A masterpiece by the great Rouben Mamoulian.I even must say, hardly enough, that in my innermost self...I feel this even tops other Pre-Code all-time-fave of mine (which is not a musical) from the same year (1932), "Trouble in Paradise", Lubitsch's masterpiece.I was amazed by the Pre-Code dialogue & situations, the finesse of the screenplay treatment, the witty dialogues, the fantastic numbers by Chevalier, MacDonald, et al: "Isn't it Romantic", "Lover", "Mimi", "I'm an Apache", the innovative opening sequence: "The Song of Paree", "Love Me Tonight"...Really, when I read again on the dvd's package back that Leslie Halliwell said about it: "The most fluently cinematic comedy musical ever made"...the statement is true, absolutely!!! and in its actual 89 minutes version ('cos it underwent several cuts for its re-release) "Love Me Tonight" is still THE LANDMARK MUSICAL OF ALL TIME.I had never seen this film before, never-ever, only read (a lot) about it...and words are short of praise to this marvel... Chevalier, MacDonald, never have been better (alone or together)....Myrna Loy looks so ravishing, such a "coquette" as the Countess...C. Aubrey Smith at his authoritative best as the Duke....Charlie Ruggles, deliciously "mischevious" as Monsieur le Vicomte (The Viscount)...the three elderly aunts, played flawlessly by Elizabeth Patterson, Blanche Frederici and Ethel Griffies.....and last but not least...the great Charlie Butterworth utterly funny as a Count, pretending Jeanette.By the way both stars characters bear their same names... they're Maurice (the tailor) and Jeanette (the Princess)....It's a treat!!...I cannot say enough to praise this film.The transfer is beautiful...the image quality (from 1932) is better than Criterion's transfer of "Trouble in Paradise" (from the same year)...It looks sharp, with much contrast, in glorious black and white.The Bonuses are real wonders...Chevalier singing "Louise"... Jeanette giving a sensuous, tongue-in-cheek rendition of "Love Me Tonight" (Hollywood on Parade)....The audio commentary is precise, great, by Miles Kreuger...One has to watch the film really twice (with and without the audio commentary)...'cos the latter is absolutely very good.The Screen Play Excerpts of the Deleted Scenes...are simply wonderful to undertsand the original story as it was intendend to be. And the Production Documents and Censrorship Records, is plain-simply necessary material, to understand not only the reason of the cuts this gem underwent, during the Production Code's Reign, after 1934 (for its 1949 re-release)....but all the trouble that went on during its filming in 1932. Music Lovers, Early Talkies lovers, Jeanette & Maurice Lovers, Pre-Code fans....do yourself a favour and buy this DVD immediately.This DVD is worth every dollar it costs...I hope Universal Pictures will continue giving the copyrights the've got on the thirties Paramount movies, to Kino Video, Criterion, et al...'cos there's still too much to be restored and edited on this format (DVD): "The Smiling Lieutenant" (1931), "The Story of Temple Drake" (1933), "Peter Ibbetson" (1935), etc.."
A masterpiece from the early days of the sound film
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 05/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rouben Mamoulian's LOVE ME TONIGHT is the finest impersonation of Ernst Lubitsch in the history of Hollywood. It helped that he borrowed two of Lubitsch's most widely used stars. Jeanette MacDonald had appeared in Lubitsch's MONTE CARLO in 1930 (with the marvelous Jack Buchanan, who is best know for his great role in THE BAND WAGON) and Maurice Chevalier had appeared in 1931's THE SMILING LIEUTENANT, and the appeared together in THE LOVE PARADE of 1929 and ONE HOUR WITH YOU earlier in 1932 (they would appear together again in Lubitsch's superb THE MERRY WIDOW in 1934 in one of the last great comedies before the Code). If Mamoulian doesn't quite match Lubitsch in the latter's unsurpassed magic with the camera, he nonetheless more than equals him in his sense of play, of class conflict, and impish sense of mischief. But in one regard he completely surpasses Lubitsch: Mamoulian was able to work with songs the likes of which Lubitsch was never able to. The film is filled with great songs by Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart. The score is so good that songs that would normally be the finest in a musical, like "Mimi" and "Love Me Tonight" are completely overshadowed by two of the greatest songs that the legendary team wrong: the waltz-like "Lover" (sung by Jeanette MacDonald in a carriage) and the almost epic "Isn't It Romantic?" Rogers was one of the greatest composers the American stage or cinema has seen, but as fine as his music is in these two songs, Hart just might be a tad better. The lyrics are simply astonishing. Take these from "Lover," which are closer to poetry than to mere song lyrics: Lover, when I'm near you/ And I hear you speak my name/ Softly, in my ear you/ Breathe a flame. The lyrics, on the other hand, of "Isn't It Romantic?" are cleverly nonchalant, many of the lines mere vowels as the singers hum rather than sing. Later versions "cleaned up" the lyrics, but in the movie the rough, almost unfinished quality of the lyrics enhances their appeal. It begins in Paris with Maurice Chevalier singing in his shop (with marvelous use of mirrors), and the tune leaving the shop on the lips of a customer, only to be passed onto a cab driver, from him to a fare who is a composer, on from him to a troop of soldiers marching in the countryside, and from them to a gypsy violinist who is overheard by Jeanette MacDonald in her chateau, where the song concludes. It is a breathtaking performance.There is so much nonchalant fun in this film! For instance, a marvelous conversation between C. Aubrey Smith and Charles Butterworth in a stable, with a horse's head firmly wedged between them. Or the remarkably humorous fox hunt. This is a must-see film for anyone who loves classic cinema or pre-code musical comedies. It is almost impossible to surpass in terms of cast, music, camera work, or humor. Love it tonight."
Love This Film!
Robert M. Fells | Centreville, VA USA | 12/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Long absent from home video titles, 1932's LOVE ME TONIGHT has finally been released on dvd in all of its glory - and a wonderfully pristine print it is too! There are enough superlatives already published about this film and its creators, director Rouben Mamoulian and Rogers & Hart, that I don't need to think up new ones - Leonard Maltin calls it simply "one of the best musicals ever made" - but it's worth observing that Hollywood never made another musical even remotely like it until the recent CHICAGO. (OK, let's credit 1933's HALLELUJAH I'M A BUM, a notorious flop.)Even in some of our most beloved musicals - such as SINGIN' IN THE RAIN - let's admit it, the story stops dead in its tracks to perform a musical number. At best, the number is usually redundant of information already provided to the viewer. Rogers and Hart told LOVE ME TONIGHT's story through its musical numbers, a seemingly obvious approach that films have steadfastly ignored all these decades except for CHICAGO where LMT's approach seems to have been rediscovered. Perhaps the quality that distinguishes LMT from later and better-known musicals is its lack of pretension, indeed, its playfulness. Despite the film's imagination and continual inventiveness, it is never impressed with itself (oh, that the "great" MGM musicals of the 1950s had this quality!).The only problems I found are minor and not the fault of the film itself. There seems to be a slight rumble on the soundtrack when the scene is in silence, most notably in the famous opening sequence of Paris at dawn. I also wondered why some slight speckling was not removed from the opening titles. These two items aside, Kino Video did a great job and provided some great supplemental material including a thoughtful essay by Miles Kreuger. If you have any interest in movie musicals, LMT is "must" viewing!"
Or maybe 10 Stars
inframan | the lower depths | 01/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a movie which I taped each time it was on TV until I got the very best print I could. I watched it religiously 2 or 3 times a year. Always in awe. The music, the acting, the production are all breath-takingly spectacular. This movie is unforgettable, one of those films that one's own memory (to say nothing of musicals made for the next 25 years) quotes from incessantly. Fabulous to have it on DVD!"
Excellent DVD presentation
alandau | Melbourne, Australia | 01/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kino has done a wonderful job with the DVD presentation of this great film. The transfer is excellent, with only a few speckles, and excellent shadow detail. Blacks look rich and vibrant, and the whites look brilliant. Suprisingly, for a 71 year old movie, there is hardly any grain, and I am watching this film on a 50 inch screen. Even the stock Paris footage looks amazing and clean. There are hardly any jump cuts, except for the cuts instigated by hard-line censor Breen for subsequent reissues. The frames show remarkable stability. In summary, I was extremely surprised. The soundtrack does not quite match the quality of the video. However, all the dialogue is very clear, with an occasional hiss on the mono soundtrack. Let's not forget the age of the film.
The commentary by Miles Kreuger is about a 4 out of 5. He is very interested in the film, and the works of director Mamoulian, and is informative, especially in matters regarding the horrendous cuts inflicted by the post-code censor. He seems to know alot about the cast, especially the supporting cast. However, do we really need to know the birth date and the life story of an actor who has a very minor role, that is, only occupies seconds of screen time. Hopefully, Miles may improve in subsequent audio commentaries.
Congratulations Kino, and thanks for allowing cinephiles to finally view this film at home."