One year, one film: 1932
Love Me Tonight, dir. Rouben Mamoulian
starring Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier
Recommended | Highly Recommended | MUST-SEE
Music and romance meet in this lovely film, starring the very talented Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, with music and lyrics by Rodgers & Hart.
Chevalier is Maurice, a tailor in Paris who begins posing as a baron. He finds himself rubbing elbows with plenty of eccentric and odd royals, including Countess Valentine (Myrna Loy) and Viscount de Vereze (Charles Ruggles).
But his most exciting meeting is with Princess Jeanette (portrayed by Jeanette MacDonald, of course). He’s enamored of her from the very first time he sees her, and he hopes to woo her into falling for him, too. But in order to catch her eye, he must carry on the baron charade, not revealing his true identity.
So, what did the critics of yesteryear think of this film? Photoplay named Love Me Tonight one of their “Best of the Month,” giving Chevalier and supporting player Charles Butterworth praise for two of the “Best Performances of the Month” (October 1932).
Variety called the flick “exquisitely amusing,” with songs that are “blended smoothly with the action.” Picture Play magazine also enjoyed the incorporation of music, writing that “The problem of combining music with action has been cleverly solved, with the dread signs of musical comedy obliterated” (November 1932). Photoplay gave perhaps the greatest praise of all: “The music? Woven through the whole picture like a brilliant symphony, accented with some of the catchiest tunes of the season” (October 1932).
Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times enjoyed the film as well, writing that director Rouben Mamoulian “is at the height of his form” and “never neglects an opportunity to conjure with the microphone or make the most of the camera.”
With wonderful music, a charming cast, an exciting story, and a steady pace, Love Me Tonight is a wonderful watch from start to finish. It’s one of the most delightful musicals of the early ’30s, and I consider it a must-see.