For Reel

Love Me Tonight (1932)
March 21, 2011, 6:47 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Rouben Mamoulian

Maurice Chevalier, the ever-persistent French lover, and Jeanette MacDonald, whose operatic voice allured the audiences of her time, were among the most affable of romantic couples in the early days of sound. Working with Ernst Lubitsch on pictures like The Merry Widow and One Hour With You, the duo developed a repartee familiar of the best pairs in 1930s comedy (Astaire & Rogers, Powell & Loy). This picture, directed by successful broadway director and technical innovator Rouben Mamoulian, has an enchanting opening sequence familiar of later classics like Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. As Paris awakens, the natural sounds of day-laborers and housewives literally fills the streets with music. What most differentiates Mamoulian’s take on the genre from Lubitsch’s is his highly flamboyant visual aesthetic. There are many point-of-view close-ups in which the characters speak or sing directly into the camera, and quite often Mamoulian will light a performer so that their shadow projects as high as twenty feet tall on the backdrop. The film also features Myrna Loy in a small role as an oversexed countess, who prior to reaching enormous success with Manhattan Melodrama and The Thin Man two years later earns many of this film’s biggest laughs.

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