The small kingdom of Marshovia has a little problem. The main tax-payer, the wealthy widow Sonia (who pays 52% of the taxes) has left for Paris. So Count Danilo is sent to Paris, to stop her from getting married to a stranger, so that the danger of removing the money is averted. But this is not as easy as the ambassador in Paris has planned.Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A French-language version was filmed simultaneously, with Chevalier and MacDonald in the starring roles. (As a trained opera singer, MacDonald spoke and sang excellent French.) However, the rest of the cast was replaced with French-speaking actors. Marcel Vallée played the Ambassador (who is played by Edward Everett Horton in the English version). See more »
When Count Danilo leaves Madame Sonia's residence after his romantic efforts are rejected, there is a close up of him fully shutting the door. Next, when it cuts to a long shot of just Madame, you see that the door is not fully closed but is in the process of swinging shut on its own. See more »
The Monarch of Marshovia sends a romantic count to Paris to woo back THE MERRY WIDOW whose vast wealth is vital to running the tiny kingdom.
Nine years after producing a non-talking film based on the Franz Lehár operetta, MGM mined the same material again, this time as a musical comedy. The Studio would give the film its trademark opulent treatment, with production values of the highest order. Celebrated lyricist Lorenz Hart was engaged to write words for the music. And, to make absolutely certain of success, director Ernst Lubitsch and stars Maurice Chevalier & Jeanette MacDonald were reunited to duplicate their previous triumphs at Paramount Studios.
If, ultimately, the film does not have quite the effervescence of Lubitsch's previous pictures, this is probably understandable. MGM, while wonderful with epics and dramas, often took an unnecessarily heavy-handed approach to subjects which should have been given a lighter, airier treatment. Also, the film was released a few months after the imposition of the Production Code, which obviously had a significant effect upon the movie's final persona.
Chevalier & MacDonald continue the on screen relationship already well established in their earlier films: she, the rather aloof and powerful female who needs a good man; he, the social inferior who wins her with his enormous Gallic charm. Their singing is vivacious & charming and sometimes you can almost understand her words.
Unlike the 1925 version of THE MERRY WIDOW, there is no villain here to provide dramatic tension. The costars, however, provide much comic amusement. Foremost among them is waspish Edward Everett Horton, very funny as Marshovia's nervous Ambassador in Paris. Rotund George Barbier & sprightly Una Merkel make the most of their small roles as the diminutive nation's conniving King and flirtatious Queen.
Some of the smaller roles are also humorously cast: Sterling Holloway as Chevalier's loyal orderly; Donald Meek as the King's gossipy valet; and Herman Bing as Horton's dramatic factotum.
Movie mavens will recognize Akim Tamiroff as the head waiter at Maxim's & Arthur Housman as a drunk (what else?) trying to gain entry into that establishment, both uncredited.
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