96 internautes sur 97 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Frankly...upon buying this dvd, I had high hopes...but they were all surpassed by the material...I only had seen the young (well not so young, because he arrived to Hollywood in 1929, when he was over forty years old) Maurice Chevalier in Lubitsch's marvelous "The Smiling Lieutenant" (1931) and "The Merry Widow" (1934), both great landmark films & big achievements.... but "Love Me Tonight" is THE "Gem" of "The Crown's Jewels."
This must be the greatest pairing of Chevalier and MacDonald... Having not seen either "The Love Parade" (1929) nor "One Hour With You" (1932), I cannot say it 100% sure...but I'm pretty sure anyway.
I feel that if it wasn't for this musical, there wouldn't be a "Gigi", "My Fair Lady", "The Harvey Girls", "Easter Parade"...or whatever...this one is the grandparent of all movie musicals...either transferred from Broadway or not...it's just perfect. A masterpiece by the great Rouben Mamoulian.
I even must say, hardly enough, that in my innermost self...I feel this even tops other Pre-Code all-time-fave of mine (which is not a musical) from the same year (1932), "Trouble in Paradise", Lubitsch's masterpiece.
I was amazed by the Pre-Code dialogue & situations, the finesse of the screenplay treatment, the witty dialogues, the fantastic numbers by Chevalier, MacDonald, et al: "Isn't it Romantic", "Lover", "Mimi", "I'm an Apache", the innovative opening sequence: "The Song of Paree", "Love Me Tonight"...Really, when I read again on the dvd's package back that Leslie Halliwell said about it: "The most fluently cinematic comedy musical ever made"...the statement is true, absolutely!!! and in its actual 89 minutes version ('cos it underwent several cuts for its re-release) "Love Me Tonight" is still THE LANDMARK MUSICAL OF ALL TIME.
I had never seen this film before, never-ever, only read (a lot) about it...and words are short of praise to this marvel... Chevalier, MacDonald, never have been better (alone or together)....Myrna Loy looks so ravishing, such a "coquette" as the Countess...C. Aubrey Smith at his authoritative best as the Duke....Charlie Ruggles, deliciously "mischevious" as Monsieur le Vicomte (The Viscount)...the three elderly aunts, played flawlessly by Elizabeth Patterson, Blanche Frederici and Ethel Griffies.....and last but not least...the great Charlie Butterworth utterly funny as a Count, pretending Jeanette.
By the way both stars characters bear their same names... they're Maurice (the tailor) and Jeanette (the Princess)....It's a treat!!...I cannot say enough to praise this film.
The transfer is beautiful...the image quality (from 1932) is better than Criterion's transfer of "Trouble in Paradise" (from the same year)...It looks sharp, with much contrast, in glorious black and white.
The Bonuses are real wonders...Chevalier singing "Louise"... Jeanette giving a sensuous, tongue-in-cheek rendition of "Love Me Tonight" (Hollywood on Parade)....The audio commentary is precise, great, by Miles Kreuger...One has to watch the film really twice (with and without the audio commentary)...'cos the latter is absolutely very good.
The Screen Play Excerpts of the Deleted Scenes...are simply wonderful to undertsand the original story as it was intendend to be. And the Production Documents and Censrorship Records, is plain-simply necessary material, to understand not only the reason of the cuts this gem underwent, during the Production Code's Reign, after 1934 (for its 1949 re-release)....but all the trouble that went on during its filming in 1932.
Music Lovers, Early Talkies lovers, Jeanette & Maurice Lovers, Pre-Code fans....do yourself a favour and buy this DVD immediately.
This DVD is worth every dollar it costs...I hope Universal Pictures will continue giving the copyrights the've got on the thirties Paramount movies, to Kino Video, Criterion, et al...'cos there's still too much to be restored and edited on this format (DVD): "The Smiling Lieutenant" (1931), "The Story of Temple Drake" (1933), "Peter Ibbetson" (1935), etc..
24 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Robert M. Fells
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Long absent from home video titles, 1932's LOVE ME TONIGHT has finally been released on dvd in all of its glory - and a wonderfully pristine print it is too! There are enough superlatives already published about this film and its creators, director Rouben Mamoulian and Rogers & Hart, that I don't need to think up new ones - Leonard Maltin calls it simply "one of the best musicals ever made" - but it's worth observing that Hollywood never made another musical even remotely like it until the recent CHICAGO. (OK, let's credit 1933's HALLELUJAH I'M A BUM, a notorious flop.)
Even in some of our most beloved musicals - such as SINGIN' IN THE RAIN - let's admit it, the story stops dead in its tracks to perform a musical number. At best, the number is usually redundant of information already provided to the viewer. Rogers and Hart told LOVE ME TONIGHT's story through its musical numbers, a seemingly obvious approach that films have steadfastly ignored all these decades except for CHICAGO where LMT's approach seems to have been rediscovered. Perhaps the quality that distinguishes LMT from later and better-known musicals is its lack of pretension, indeed, its playfulness. Despite the film's imagination and continual inventiveness, it is never impressed with itself (oh, that the "great" MGM musicals of the 1950s had this quality!).
The only problems I found are minor and not the fault of the film itself. There seems to be a slight rumble on the soundtrack when the scene is in silence, most notably in the famous opening sequence of Paris at dawn. I also wondered why some slight speckling was not removed from the opening titles. These two items aside, Kino Video did a great job and provided some great supplemental material including a thoughtful essay by Miles Kreuger. If you have any interest in movie musicals, LMT is "must" viewing!
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
So I'm watching "Dreamgirls" --- well, sort of watching; the screen is blurred by my tears of joy at the mere existence of such a dazzling achievement. And I'm thinking that it's ever so slightly familiar.
It's not the theme, though this is hardly the first film to show how original art is watered down so it can thrill a mass audience.
It's not the music, which starts as strong soul, transits through powerful R&B and ends up as a homogenized vehicle for a star who is, by now, just "passing" as a black woman.
Ah! It's the way the story is told, a quasi-operatic style in which dialogue segues into song --- and instead of talking to one another, characters sing their thoughts back and forth.
And then, because although I have trouble remembering last week, I'm strong on old movies, I got it: "Dreamgirls" is cousin to "Love Me Tonight," a 1932 musical by Rouben Mamoulian.
You may never have heard of this film. Blame that on television, which long ago turned away from late-night broadcasts of black-and-white classics. Had "Love Me Tonight" been on and had you seen the opening sequence, you would have been hooked --- it's that rare combination: great originality and total fun.
We're in Paris. Early morning, as the city awakes. A workman shows up with a pick and starts chipping away at the pavement. Another sweeps. A knife sharpener puts an edge on the first blade of the day. Two cobblers take seats outside their shop and hammer at heels. A woman beats a carpet.
It's pure rhythm --- street sound as melody. And it's just a little too much for young Maurice Chevalier, who shuts his window, finishes dressing and heads downstairs. But hey, he's Maurice Chevalier; as he walks down the street, he sings to his neighbors. And they sing back to him.
Time to get serious: Maurice is a tailor. A good one. And, he thinks, a lucky one --- he has just made 15 suits for Vicomte Gilbert de Vareze, the most fashionable man in Paris. His future is assured.
You know the punch line: The Vicomte is a penniless deadbeat who has stiffed every tradesman on the block. He lives off crumbs from his disapproving uncle, the Duke d'Artelines. So Maurice charges off to the Duke's chateau to extract payment.
On the way, he meets Jeannette MacDonald, and falls instantly in love. Once at the chateau, there is the inevitable confusion about Maurice's identity --- the last thing the Vicomte wants his uncle to know is that a tailor has come to collect a small fortune --- and Maurice gets the chance to try his charm on MacDonald, who it turns out, is a widow.
Not just any widow. A widow who feels she is, at 21, "wasting away." Her doctor, with an eye on her breasts, disagrees. His diagnosis: She's "being wasted."
Throughout, the dialogue is brisk and racy:
Jeanette: What are you doing now?
Maurice: I'm thinking. I'm thinking of you without these clothes.
Jeanette: Open your eyes at once!
Maurice: Oh no, pardon, madam. With different clothes. Smart clothes.
No wonder the censors snipped some 15 minutes from the film.
The music is by Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart. It includes such classics as "Isn't It Romantic?" and is, as the opening sequence suggests, integral to the film. But let Mamoulian explain: "I decided to make the movie lyrical, thoroughly stylized: a film in which the whole action of actors, as well as the movement of camera and cutting was rhythmic. Then I got Rodgers and Hart to write the music....We finished the whole score before I began to work on the script. We did the whole thing to a metronome, because we couldn't carry an orchestra round with us."
Mistaken identity. Stars at their zenith. Classic songs. Double entendres galore. Even a happy ending: "Once upon a time there was a princess and a prince charming...who was not a prince but who was charming...and they lived happily ever after."
If you have any weakness for old movies, don't miss "Love Me Tonight."
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
C. O. DeRiemer
- Publié sur Amazon.com
"Once upon a time there was a princess and a prince charming...who was not a prince but who was charming...and they lived happily ever after." These are the final words of one of the most influential of Hollywood musicals. It has a frothy book, an outstanding Rodgers and Hart score and a style that brought a whole new look to the clunky musicals which were being cranked out at the time. The story is told with such lightness and style that Lubitsch, I think, would have been proud to have directed it. A poor Parisian tailor (Maurice Chevalier) is determined to collect on the large bill a downbeat nobleman has run up. He travels to a magnificent estate where he was told he will be paid, but on a road he encounters a beautiful young woman (Jeanette MacDonald). He falls instantly in love but she goes on her way. Arriving at the estate, he is mistaken for a wealthy baron. He's about to tell the truth when he spies the girl...she is a princess! And he decides not to say that he is just a tailor. There are mixups, mistaken encounters, another suitor who is a drip, and a guardian (C. Aubrey Smith) who is formidable. But love will find a way, and it does.
Chevalier is funny, masculine and endearing. And while MacDonald isn't exactly spontaneous, she is at least better than adequate. The rest of the cast is great. C. Aubrey Smith is steadfast, as usual, but he shows a funny side not often seen in his other movies. He also does a very nice job of singing a chorus of "Mimi". There's Myrna Loy on the make, Charles Butterworth as the twit and Charlie Ruggles as the deadbeat. They're all first rate farceurs.
Mamoulian brings much lightness and speed to the movie, as well as a good deal of pre-code naughtiness. When a doctor examines the princess in her negligee he tells her "...now I'm going to examine your heart...both sides." He pronounces her healthy, but notes "with a figure like that, you're not wasting away. You're just wasted."
Mamoulian's not afraid to be unconventional, beginning with starting the movie with a slowly growing chorus of early-morning Paris sounds of cans being emptied, rugs beaten and horses clopping. Rather than assign Rodgers and Hart specific songs to compose, he brought them in early and had them develop the whole musical structure of the movie. This included their first attempts at rhyming dialogue, which works just fine in several of the scenes. Rodgers, Hart and Mamoulian came up with the idea of a song that would be handed off from one character to another, and Rodgers and Hart developed "Isn't It Romantic." Chevalier starts the song, passes it off to a customer buying a suit, who passes it off to a cab driver, where it's picked up by a poet/passenger, who passes it off to a train full of French soldiers, who pass it off to a group of marching soldiers, where it's taken up by a young gypsy boy who plays the melody on a violin, where the song is taken up by other gypsies around a campfire, and it is at last passed along to the princess on her balcony. The sequence goes on for several minutes, the song moves at different tempi and with different words, and is absolutely charming. Here are some of the words: Isn't it romantic?/ Music in the night, a dream that can be heard./ Isn't it romantic?/ Moving shadows write the oldest magic word/ I hear the breezes playing in the trees above/ while all the world is saying you were meant for love./ Isn't it romantic?/ Merely to be young on such a night as this?/ Isn't it romantic?/ Every note that's sung is like a lover's kiss./ Sweet symbols in the moonlight,/ do you mean that I will fall in love, per chance?/ Isn't it romance? And then version two: Isn't it romantic?/ While I sit around my love can scrub the floor/ She'll kiss me every hour or she'll get the sack/ and when I take a shower she can scrub my back./ Isn't it romantic./ On a moonlight night she'll cook me onion soup./ Kiddies are romantic,/ and if we don't fight we soon will have a troupe./ We'll help the population;/ it's a duty that we owe to dear old France.\ Isn't it romance? This hand-off style is also used with "Mimi," and it is just as clever and amusing. Rodgers and Hart also came up with "Lover." Those who remember Peggy Lee's driving, passionate version should get a surprise. With the same lyrics and a clever pun or two, MacDonald sings the song in part to her horse.
If you're interested in how the Hollywood movie developed, if you like great songs, and if you enjoy a frothy, clever story with expert performances, this might be a movie to add to your collection. The DVD picture looks great. There are several extras, including an audio commentary by Miles Kreuger, who knows a lot about American musicals. There also is an informative insert.