Ernst Lubitsch’s first “talking picture” was also Hollywood’s first movie musical to integrate songs with narrative. Additionally, The Love Parade made stars out of toast-of-Paris Maurice Chevalier and girl-from-Philly Jeanette MacDonald, cast as a womanizing military attaché and the man-hungry queen of “Sylvania.” With its naughty innuendo and satiric romance, The Love Parade opened the door for a decade of witty screen battles of the sexes. —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
I love the opening of this film when Chevalier is caught by the jealous husband. The reveal of the drawer full of little pistols is one of my favourite examples of that much celebrated touch of Lubitsch's. Also the scene where Queen Louisa shows off her legs to her ministers is another favourite. Plus the beautiful example of indirection when . . . Oh hell I could go on and on.
It doesn't hold up as well as I remembered upon seeing it for the first time many years ago. Still, it's light years ahead of almost every film made in 1929. Integrated musicals were so rare at the time, and Lubitsch's impeccable direction was clearly evident even in this, his first sound film. The editing in the marriage night scene is perfect, cutting back and forth between the newlyweds and the onlookers.