Archive for September 25th, 2011

by Allan Fish

(USA 1931 88m) DVD1

Just like a melody

p/d  Ernst Lubitsch  w  Ernest Vajda, Ernst Lubitsch, Samson Raphaelson  operetta  “A Waltz Dream” by Leopold Jacobson, Felix Doermann  ph  George J.Folsey  ed  Merrill White  m  Oscar Straus, Clifford Grey  md  Adolph Deutsch  art  Hans Dreier  cos  Travis Banton

Maurice Chevalier (Lieutenant Niki), Miriam Hopkins (Princess Anna), Claudette Colbert (Franzi), Charles Ruggles (Max), George Barbier (King Adolf XV), Elizabeth Patterson (Baroness Von Schwadel), Hugh O’Connell (Orderly), Robert Strange (Adjutant Von Rockoff), Janet Reade (Lily),

It’s time to once more take a journey back to one of the favourite times and places in movie history, that carefree Vienna before the wars where biergartens and dance halls alike reverberated to the sound of Strauss waltzes (in actual fact, here the waltzes of the unrelated Oscar Straus, but it makes little difference).  Like Von Stroheim and Ophuls, Lubitsch loved that old Vienna and The Smiling Lieutenant is his greatest cinematic remembrance of those times as well as being the peak of his series of operettas of the early talkie years. 

            Like all such operettas, the plot is dispensable, focusing on a young lieutenant with an eye for the ladies who falls for a female band leader and violinist.  However, an etiquette faux pas sees him brought before the princess daughter of the visiting king of Flausenthurm, who promptly falls in love with him.  Our lieutenant thus has to choose between a marriage to a princess and the real love of his life. (more…)

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