Archive for Maurice Chevalier

Pond Life

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on April 14, 2016 by dcairns

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This fortnight’s Forgotten — Chevalier! Colbert! Sturges! Hobart Henley!

Hobart Henley?

Here!

The Sunday Intertitle: Having a Ball

Posted in FILM, MUSIC with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2013 by dcairns

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Well, this is more like it — a proper intertitle. But from a talkie.

Lubitsch’s sublime THE MERRY WIDOW could be seen as a revival of the short-lived operetta-film form which he’d pioneered in the very early days of sound. Ruritanian romance, musical interludes, Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald — Lubitsch brings them all back, and this time configures the elements so perfectly that there was really no need to revisit the form again. He got it right.

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The movie benefits from a technical smoothness made possible by advances in sound and camera equipment, and from a gigantic MGM budget, not that THE SMILING LIEUTENANT or the others really suffers from a lack of those things. It also has really delightful performances from its leads — Lubitsch had a remarkable skill at getting light comedy performances from performers not necessarily associated with that tone… I guess I’m talking about Jeanette. I like her in LOVE ME TONIGHT just fine, but she’s more winning here, and there’s genuine chemistry with Chevalier. She played a lot of romantic comedy, I guess, but usually seemed a bit of a prig. Here, that’s part of her character, but she still has warmth.

Dancing on the spinning globe — that’s not easy to do!

There’s also Edward Everett Horton and Herman Bing and Una Merkel and George Barbier and Sterling Holloway and Akim Tamiroff… And a plethora of babes dropping by on their way to stardom or near-stardom or obscurity, making this the 1930s version of THE KNACK. We get delicious Lona Andre for about a line, Kathleen Burke (the Panther Woman from ISLAND OF LOST SOULS), Luana Walters…

vlcsnap-2013-01-13-11h40m41s25Lona Andre, right.

The Merry Widow 1934, (Region 2 import) Maurice Chevalier Jeanette MacDonald

The 7 Wonders of the Pre-Code World: 3

Posted in FILM with tags , , on April 16, 2009 by dcairns

Maurice Chevalier’s secretaries.

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Does Maurice Chevalier really NEED so many secretaries? Of course he does — he’s Maurice Chevalier! And do their secretarial dresses really need to be backless? Yes, they do. He’s Maurice Chevalier!

From FOLIES BERGERE, a 20th Century Fox musical comedy that makes a pretty good job of impersonating the Busby Berkeley style:

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Girls in stockings with umbrellas dancing on lightning bolts. It’s a visual treat and a health and safety nightmare.

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