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The Merry Widow

The Merry Widow(1934)

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  • Not bad but still disappointing

    • LCF Bill
    • 6/11/18

    I actually think that the von Stroheim silent version is superior with its superior acting and archly drawn characters. Here, MacDonald is outstanding as the titular widow (not Hanna as in the operetta but Sonia/Fifi), charming and attractive. The production design is splendid as is the cinematography. I do not know why, but with the full technique of the sound film at their disposal, this version gives short shrift to the magnificent Lehar score that is the glory of this piece. We get brief musical interludes and seldom are these lovely melodies given enough runway to take off and soar. Any chance that Larry Hart had to go to town with the lyrics is lost in this de-emphasis of the musical elements. This truly disappointed me since most English translations of the lyrics are indigestibly leaden (save for the Sheldon Harnick translation which sadly never seems to be performed these days). I beg to differ about Mr. Chevalier. He lacks the vocal ability to sing the role of Danilo in the operetta. Perhaps this limitation is why the numbers are cut so short. His comedic abilities leave me flat. One quickly tires of an actor with three expressions. There is great humor in the operetta but most of it has been lost in translation. I love Ernst Lubitsch but here his touch seems to have been flattened out in order to adhere to the Metro house style, nothing overly naughty allowed.

  • 1st Rate, Enjoy

    • JimS
    • 1/24/18

    Don't know how many times I have started to watch a Jeanette MacDonald movie with low expectations but ended up captivated by her charm, looks and singing. I should get an Oscar for Dumbest Man on the Planet. Maybe in my next life I'll learn that action adventure, war and westerns aren't the only movies that can be outstanding.

  • Beautiful!

    • RedRain
    • 1/28/14

    This film has been made several times, including a silent version, but this is the one that has the best musical score. A later version, starring Fernando Lamas and Lana Turner, is quite good but does not have the musical score. I must say, however, than Lana Turner was outstanding as the widow! Back to this version... I have long been a huge fan of Maurice Chevalier and he is wonderfully cast here as Count Danilo, the rake who must save his country by marrying the widow but falls in love with her alter ego. And what can you add about Jeanette MacDonald and her exquisite voice? She is gorgeously gowned in this film and the music from Franz Lehar is everything you could possibly wish for her to sing. This film won the Academy Award for Art Direction and one can easily see why. It is just beautiful to watch!

  • The Merry Widow

    • Mark Sutch
    • 4/12/11

    ***1/2

  • The Greatest Musical

    • keith
    • 9/28/06

    The finest music ever to be in film. Enchanting performances by Maurice Chevalier, Jeannette McDonald and an all-star cast. Charming, funny, romantic, and the most beautiful sets.What a treat for the ears and the eyes.

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