Lubitsch reunites Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, this time as a seemingly blissful couple whose marriage hits the skids when her flirtatious school chum comes on to her husband a bit too strong. Necking in the park at nighttime, husbands and wives having casual dalliances, and a butler telling his master, “I did so want to see you in tights!”: it’s one of Lubitsch’s sauciest escapades and his final “pre-Code” musical. —The Criterion Collection
b. Jan. 29, 1892, Berlin. d. Nov. 30, 1947, Hollywood. The son of a prosperous tailor, he was drawn to the stage while participating in plays staged by his high school, which he quit at 16. To satisfy both his own urge to act and his father’s desire that he take over the family business, he began leading a double life, working as a bookkeeper at his father’s store by day and appearing in cabarets and music halls by night.
In 1911 he joined Max Reinhardt’s famous Deutsches Theater, where he rapidly advanced from bit parts to character leads. To supplement his income, he took a job in 1912 as an apprentice and general-purpose handyman at Berlin’s Bioscope film studios. The following year he began appearing in a series of film comedies, emphasizing ethnic Jewish humor, in which he played a character named Meyer. He became very successful as a comedian and soon began writing and directing his own films. Gradually, Lubitsch abandoned acting to concentrate on directing… read more
For me a definite step down from The Marriage Circle, whose remake this is. It doesn't help that Jeanette MacDonald seemed faded and tired and that I can hardly bear the hamming of Chevalier. What it lacks is the effortless rhythm of the Marriage Circle, where the movie was like a precise minuet.