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Lubitsch Pt.II: The Magical Touch with MacDonald, Garbo Sorely Missing from Today's Cinema

'The Merry Widow' with Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald and Minna Gombell under the direction of Ernst Lubitsch. Ernst Lubitsch movies: 'The Merry Widow,' 'Ninotchka' (See previous post: “Ernst Lubitsch Best Films: Passé Subtle 'Touch' in Age of Sledgehammer Filmmaking.”) Initially a project for Ramon Novarro – who for quite some time aspired to become an opera singer and who had a pleasant singing voice – The Merry Widow ultimately starred Maurice Chevalier, the hammiest film performer this side of Bob Hope, Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler – the list goes on and on. Generally speaking, “hammy” isn't my idea of effective film acting. For that reason, I usually find Chevalier a major handicap to his movies, especially during the early talkie era; he upsets their dramatic (or comedic) balance much like Jack Nicholson in Martin Scorsese's The Departed or Jerry Lewis in anything (excepting Scorsese's The King of Comedy
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Sexy Garbo, Wrathful Censors, the End of Stardom, and Brutal Murder: Novarro

Ramon Novarro and Greta Garbo in ‘Mata Hari’: The wrath of the censors (See previous post: "Ramon Novarro in One of the Best Silent Movies.") George Fitzmaurice’s romantic spy melodrama Mata Hari (1931) was well received by critics and enthusiastically embraced by moviegoers. The Greta Garbo / Ramon Novarro combo — the first time Novarro took second billing since becoming a star — turned Mata Hari into a major worldwide blockbuster, with $2.22 million in worldwide rentals. The film became Garbo’s biggest international success to date, and Novarro’s highest-grossing picture after Ben-Hur. (Photo: Ramon Novarro and Greta Garbo in Mata Hari.) Among MGM’s 1932 releases — Mata Hari opened on December 31, 1931 — only W.S. Van Dyke’s Tarzan, the Ape Man, featuring Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan, and Edmund Goulding’s all-star Best Picture Academy Award winner Grand Hotel (also with Garbo, in addition to Joan Crawford, John Barrymore, Wallace Beery, and
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

The Student Prince In Old Heidelberg – Ramon Novarro, Norma Shearer d: Ernst Lubitsch

The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg / Old Heidelberg (1927) Direction: Ernst Lubitsch Screenplay: Hans Kräly; titles by Ruth Cummings and Marian Ainslee; from Sigmund Romberg and Dorothy Donnelly’s operetta The Student Prince, based on Wilhelm Meyer-Förster’s novel Karl Heinrich and play Old Heidelberg Cast: Ramon Novarro, Norma Shearer, Jean Hersholt, Philippe de Lacy, Gustav von Seyffertitz, Edgar Norton, Bobby Mack, Edward Connelly Ramon Navarro, Norma Shearer The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg The theme of a prince who gives up the girl he loves in order to fulfill his royal duty has been tried many times, but Ernst Lubitsch’s The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg is the best. The plot is simple and predictable. After a brief opening of pomp and circumstance [...]
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

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