A countess fleeing her husband mistakes a count for her hairdresser at a Monte Carlo casino.
A countess fleeing her husband mistakes a count for her hairdresser at a Monte Carlo casino.
The Love Parade, Part II. CRAZY funny and self-reflexive. I may even like this more than its 1929 counterpart. Man, how I love operetta films. I am astonished by how sophisticated the technique is, especially the train sequences. Lubitsch is finding his rhythm, very quickly. If only Jeanette McDonald had Maurice Chevalier to dress her hair. But Jack Buchanan gets the job done.
One of my favorite Lubitsch films. It stars the always wonderful Jeanette MacDonald as Countess Helene Mara who is engaged to be married to Prince Otto Von Liebenheim but leaves him at the altar. She flees on a train to Monte Carlo and checks into a hotel. When she arrives at the casino a count named Rudolph Falliere takes a liking to her and poses as a hairdresser whom she hires and falls in love with but could not marry if he is a commoner. Not an uncommon class-based scenario for Lubitsch, but he instills with his trademark irony and warmth. The cast is terrific and so are the musical numbers.
Ernst Lubitsch is accurately credited as a pioneer of what we’ve come to recognize as the movie musical. 1929’s The Love Parade is often credited as the first narrative musical, and his follow-up, Monte Carlo, continues building on the accomplishments of the former. The first Hollywood musicals were an infamously rushed and immediate fad within the larger game-changing development of sound. For each Sunny Side Up or Rio Rita, there were countless embarrassingly slipshod spawns that quickly grew tedious, not to mention laughable, to the average filmgoer. The motto was More More More of the Same, and Quickly Too, which meant song as performance or non-sequitur, film as empty imitator or lazily transparent retread. The Love Parade and Monte Carlo…
Monte Carlo is my first Ernst Lubitch, and the earliest out of an Eclipse box set my loving non-musical loving wife snagged some time ago. Seeing more Chevalier was a draw to the buy, and alas this earliest inclusion in the set Chevalier free.
Playing with morals can be a tricky business. Claudette Colbert’s Gerry Jeffers pulls it off in Preston Sturges’ The Palm Beach Story, and once again in the earlier Billy Wilder penned classic, Midnight ( and Marilyn in the majority of their movies ) Straying off the moral straight and narrow for ambitions of personal gain requires just the right balance of the comedy of ambition and the redemption of contrition. For me, Lubitch missed the mark.…
"Trains don't go until I get on them!" ~ Countess Helene Mara
Having discovered singer-actress Jeanette MacDonald for his first feature with sound, director Ernst Lubitsch was eager to thrust her back into the spotlight, so he cast her as the star of this musical based upon Booth Tarkington's 1900 novella "Monsieur Beaucaire" and its stage version adapted by Evelyn Greenleaf Sutherland. The film is probably best known for its hit song, "Beyond the Blue Horizon", which reached #9 on the American music charts.
MacDonald plays the impoverished but fickle Countess Helene Mara, who runs off to Monte Carlo on the day of her scheduled wedding to Prince Otto von Liebenheim (Claud Allister), leaving him in the lurch. She brings…
"He had everything a woman could want in a man. He was rich, wealthy, and he had lots of money."
God this was absolutely hysterical. Lubitsch really proves himself the master of Golden Age comedy. Jeanette Macdonald is also astounding as the main character. It's just a great and unjustly overlooked musical that more people should see!
Jeannette McDonald bets three stacks of 40 franc chips, looks like more than 1000 francs, which I think would be worth about $500 today, on a single number in roulette, and wins four times in a row betting it all every time. That would give her about $750 million in today's money, but not content with almost a billion dollars, she goes for the $26 billion score by betting it all one last time?
Might have been a more interesting film if they'd developed that degenerate side of McDonald's character a bit more! As is, it has enough charm and wit to recommend it, though with reservations. Jack Buchanan is far too smarmy to be appealing as the male lead, the characters aren't generally all that interesting, and there isn't really any dramatic impetus to propel the narrative. Minor Lubitsch for me, but that means it's still fairly good.
Goes through the motions of an early Lubitsch, but Jack Buchanan isn't up to the lead role. The missing Chevalier's charisma and presence feels like a gaping donut hole in the middle of this film that means its far less enjoyable than what we've come to expect from a Lubitsch musical.
Lubitsch evolved sound and the musical genre in movies way too quickly, which is certainly a good thing. He was also credited for being the first ever to conceive songs into a movie that corresponded with the story. These were the charming and innocent days of screwball comedy, strictly written as one, where the jokes are delightful and unusually abundant for the times, excluding slapstick. One of America's best classics.
It's as if this were the outline of a Lubitsch movie, with none of the details filled in; the sly naughtiness I was expecting just isn't there. Like the difference, perhaps, between Noel Coward and P G Wodehouse .
Nice to see MacDonald away from Chevalier in a fun but uneven outing from Lubitsch. The comedy works best when MacDonald is up against her doting duke although the male romantic lead does work fairly well (and at least he's not chevalier)
The opening act with her fleeing a boring marriage (and the chorus of guests singing 'he's a Nass, he's a Nass'. over and over) starts the film brilliantly and I liked the Monte Carlo sections once the boring duke had arrived, particularly the use of the Barber of Seville in the final act but it does flag a little in the middle and you are conscious of how dated the singing is in a way you aren't
Not even Lubitsch could make these characters likeable. Jeanette MacDonald is good as always (although I do wish she'd cut it out with the damn warbling), but her character comes off as a money-obsessed gold-digger, even when the movie is explicitly attempting to convey the opposite. But the real drag is Jack Buchanan - I don't know who this guy is, and I don't think I've seen him in anything else, but he comes off as closer to Colin Clive than Maurice Chevalier, and this creepiness adds an unintentional subtext that brings to mind generations of royal inbreeding (this is what film buffs do not refer to as "the Lubitsch touch").
Jeanette MacDonald is a runaway bride. Do yourself a favor bud, let her go. She is kinda likable in this one but her co-star is a dud. Lubitsch keeps it frothy but it's pretty forgettable.
this film is good bc there isn’t any formula 1 in it, thank god
Lubitsch has a certain wit to his films. He makes films about sophisticated Europeans, and he both structures the film's gags and dialogue with such wit that it's hard to resist. The opening song of Monte Carlo is about what a beautiful day for a wedding, as the skies open up and pour rain down on everyone. Everyone at the wedding calls the groom a simp (yes this actually happens in a movie in 1930). The groom, the very image of an ineffectual twerp, sings about how he's going to show his animalistic tough side to get his fiancee to come back to him. Every scene with the Duke is meant to humiliate him, and it is probably the best…
Luis’ Essential Cinema Selections (The 1930s; Films #351 To #650)
Film #361: Monte Carlo
Why Is It Essential?: One of German director Ernst Lubitsch's most remembered films from his iconic career.
My Final Grade: B+
More On The List As A Whole:
Book & songs a big step up from The Love Parade (tho still short of Mamoulian's delirious Love Me Tonight). Buchanan acquits himself nicely in song & stepping lively, his lechery more vulpine & patronizing than Chevalier's brash scene-stealing. He's a good foil for MacDonald, who is at her very best: bringing the lust American-style & a comedic enterprise that caroms off vulgar European niceties & ages better than many of her better-known, knowing peer-icons (Dietrich, West) imo.
I feel like I'm not supposed to like this one as much as the ones where Lubitsch paired Jeanette MacDonald with Maurice Chevalier, yet in the end, I actually preferred it. Chevalier is wonderful, but he often feels like he is doing his own thing in Lubitsch's movies, leaving everyone else to play off of him if they can. Here, Jack Buchanan seems to understand that it's not all about him, and plays off of MacDonald with delightful effect; his posh count masquerading as a hairdresser is a perfect match for her haughty yet broke countess. MacDonald is also at her most beautiful and gets what I think is her best Lubitsch musical number, Beyond the Blue Horizon. Overall, it's a silly, sexy, glamorous little picture.
Another one of those frothy Paramount early musicals, where the nobility is always charming and rascally and libidinous. The step from these movies to Sturges (and later Lubitsch, for that matter) is that Sturges can tell these sorts of stories about commoners.
Way more operatic than the other '30s musical comedies I've been watching lately. I can't say any of the songs, or really anything about this one will be very memorable.
Ernst Lubitsch Birthday Tribute
Missing a lot of what makes Lubitsch so special - it has none of the rambunctious energy of the silent comedies, less visual inventiveness than those or his best Hollywood pictures, no romantic sparks, and Jeanette MacDonald lacks the charm of his best heroines (e.g. Ossi Oswalda & Miriam Hopkins), due at least in part to her underwritten role. Still, it's a fairly amusing picture that zips along with charm. I seem to find myself exclaiming "This has Grand Budapest Hotel vibes" during nearly every Lubitsch film, but the influence of this one is one of the most apparent, with MacDonald's runaway bride taking a train to stay in a hotel where she begins an affair with Jack Buchanan's continentally-mannered and ironically effeminate-yet-womanizing servant.
Romantic comedy musical with classic premise between two different class love birds through witty dialogue, ear catchy music and stereotypes of gender aims while the end is more daydreaming than the opera's end.
This agreeably charming confection coasts along until the third act plot mechanics kick in, at which point I started checking my watch. I'm certainly not opposed to 90 minutes of fluff, but all the best bits here are frontloaded, leaving one's enjoyment of the final twenty minutes dependent on the level of investment in the outcome of the central couple, which is both obvious and completely inconsequential. You could say it tries to have to cake and eat it too. Nonetheless, the Lubitsch touch is smeared all over this thing: it's always a tad wittier, more self-aware, franker, and more amusingly tongue-in-cheek than it has to be. That extends to most of the musical numbers, which he apparently had no hand in writing. "Trimmin' the Women" is as delightfully cheeky as it sounds.
Ana B. 3,550 films
So these are (most of) the films I've seen/wanna see that are at least 30 minutes long but at max.…