|Lubitsch delivers a groundbreaking film.|
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Produced by Ernst Lubitsch
Written by Ernest Vajda and Guy Bolton (from the The Prince Consort)
Starring Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald and Eugene Pallette
Plot Summary: A French count weds a queen, but marital problems quickly threaten to ruin their union and the future of her majesty’s empire.
Significance: Considered the first attempt at a modern Hollywood musical, Lubitsch’s “talkie” debut was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. It was also named one of the year’s ten best films by the National Board of Review.
Thoughts: This was Lubitsch’s first time directing Chevalier and MacDonald (in her film debut) together, and it’s a great sign of things to come for the pair, who would go on to co-star in films like Love Me Tonight and One Hour with You. While they would be better later, they do have good chemistry in this early film as well. Of course, the Lubitsch touch is on full display here, featuring a series of original songs throughout this charming romantic comedy. It’s all light and frothy, as goes with most of Lubitsch’s work, but the film is an enjoyable, essential piece from the beginnings of movie musicals. If you’re exploring the 1920s, this is a nice place to start.