For Reel

The Love Parade (1929)
February 5, 2016, 7:16 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
4 Stars
The Love ParadeThe Love Parade might be the kinkiest film made in Hollywood’s Golden Age, its pleasures involving the shifting sadomasochistic relationship between a Queen (Jeanette MacDonald) and the man she makes her love slave (Maurice Chevalier). If that approach isn’t titillating enough on its own, director Ernst Lubitsch makes this a picture very much about voyeurism, riddling the material with games of seeing and not seeing. When Chevalier proclaims his devotion in the musical number “Anything to Please the Queen”, Lubitsch doesn’t simply show the two lovers in the throes of courtship, but cuts to a man peaking through a curtain to watch them. Similarly, not long after, a crowd of onlookers discuss the behavior of the lovers on their date, giving a play-by-play commentary as they enter the bedroom together. Only Hitchcock revels in this level of fetishism–calling this a romantic comedy almost seems too polite. The result is one of the most agreeable and pleasant musicals of its time (it was actually the first non-revue movie musical), an indisputable touchstone in the Battle of the Sexes and an all-in-all sheer delight. Complimenting the relationship between Chevalier and MacDonald is a great sub-plot involving Lupino Lane and Lillian Roth. If Lane initially seems grating in his earliest appearances, his dance number brings the same thrills as Donald O’Connor in Singin’ in the Rain, showing an acrobatic prowess that defies our expectations about what a human being can physically make himself do.

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