Tuesday, January 5, 2010

62. Love Me Tonight (1932)

Running Time: 89 minutes
Directed By: Rouben Mamoulian
Written By: Samuel Hoffenstein, Waldemar Young, George Marion Jr. from the play Tailor In the Chateau by Paul Armont and Lepold Marchand
Main Cast: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Charles Ruggles, Charles Butterworth, Myrna Loy, C. Aubrey Smith


Despite not being able to come up with any examples at the moment, I'm sure the basic premise of "Love Me Tonight" would go on to be imitated and parodied for years to come, following it's release in 1932. A common man meets and falls in love with a princess. It's as simple as that and "Love Me Tonight" was not a bad flick...not a bad flick at all.

Maurice Chevalier plays Maurice Courtelin, your average common man, who makes his living as a tailor in the city of love, Paris, France. He is the self proclaimed "best at what he does", however business is down. That is, until Viscount Gilbert de Vareze comes to him with an outraegous order of nearly a dozen suits. Promising to pay Maurice when he returns to town the following day, the Viscount exits Maurice's shop, with no intention of returning. When Maurice is tipped off by another bill collector who's looking to collect from the snake-like Viscount, Courtelin goes after his money directly.

In the meanwhile, at the chateau, where the Viscount's uncle, the Duke, takes up residency, Princess Jeanette (MacDonald) desperately seeks and wants a groom and despite the best efforts of Count de Savignac, a suitor who would like nothing more than to wed her, The Princess goes unmarried.

On his way to the chateau, Maurice the tailor breaks down and while waiting for his driver to fix the problem with car, he spots the Princess while out for a stroll on her horse drawn carriage. As she nearly wrecks the carriage and falls into a ditch on the side of the road, Maurice quickly rushes to the rescue, helping her out of the ditch and almost immediately falling in love with her, as he serenades her with a song called "Mimi". Eventually the Princess writes off Maurice as utterly mad, and speeds away from the "lunatic". Eventually Maurice finds his way to the chateau, finds the Viscount and demands his payment for the suits. The Viscount, however, needs time to retrieve the cash, so he offers the tailor a place to stay for a few days and tells him that he will eventually be paid. Once Maurice realizes that he's in the chateau of the Princess and the new love of his life, he quickly accepts the invitation. But, so he'll fit in and be welcome, he is introduced as Baron Courtelin and thus our tale is in full motion for a raging climax.

While nothing stood out as absolutely brilliant about "Love Me Tonight", nothing stood out as absolutely terrible either. If I were to sum up "Love Me Tonight" with one word it would simply be...average. Despite a couple of very memorable scenes, for instance, the opening of the film and the rendition of "Isn't It Romantic?", which stretches from Maurice's shop, into the streets and eventually all over the city of Paris. Perhaps it's the performances that I liked the most. Maurice Chevalier plays the lead role very effectively, as the very charming, dapper and loveable Maurice Courtelin. One of the performances that stood out for me, and probably the thing I'll most remember about this picture as time goes by, is the role of Count de Savignac played brilliantly by Charles Butterworth. One of my very favorite lines from the film, right after Count de Savignac tries to serenade the Princess with his flute:

Savignac: (After falling off of a ladder) "Oh I'll never use it again!"
Princess: (Yelling down from the balcony) "Is it your leg?!"
Savignac: "NO...I fell flat on my flute!"

RATING: 5.5/10 Nothing great, nothing terrible, so a "5.5" seemed the right way to go. Butterworth and Chevalier were brilliant and I'll be on the look out for them in the films to come.

NEXT UP: Boudu Saved from Drowning...It's available instantly on Netflix, so the review should be up sometime tomorrow.

January 5, 2010 5:00am

1 comment:

  1. A new one for me, found on Utube..
    I'm really not at all into musicals, so i was never going to go big for this..and maurice Chevalier still come over as highly creepy from his roll in Gigi...
    But.. well, I didn't dislike it as much as I rather expected. The rather risque pre-code dialogue did sparkle, and there were geninely good moments. So, glad i saw it, but wouldn't but it to watch again...


SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #66: La piscine/The Swimming Pool (1969)

Running Time: 120 minutes Directed By: Jacques Deray Written By: Jean-Claude Carriere, Jacques Deray, Alain Page Main Cast: Alain Del...