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One Hour with You

One Hour with You(1932)

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An English-language version of Lothar Schmidt's play opened in New York on October 29, 1913. This film was a musical remake of Ernst Lubitsch's second American film, The Marriage Circle (also based on Lothar Schmidt's play Only a Dream), which Lubitsch directed for Warner Bros. in 1924, starring Florence Vidor and Monte Blue. The Marriage Circle contained the same "switch of the wrists" bit used in this film when "Andr," caught by the professor holding "Mitzi's" wrist, pretends to be taking her pulse. The most important plot difference between The Marriage Circle and this film was that, unlike the original film, in which the husband and wife are merely tempted to have an affair, "Andr" apparently does sleep with Mitzi; his infidelity unbalances Colette's attempts to establish a quid pro quo at the end of the film, when she asks Andr to please forgive her for what she didn't do.
       Lubitsch supervised the pre-production of this film, but because his anti-war drama, The Man I Killed, ran over schedule, Paramount assigned George Cukor to direct this film, with Lubitsch supervising. Hollywood Reporter reported on November 13, 1931, the first day of production (at Paramount's Hollywood studios), that Lubitsch had finally okayed Samson Raphaelson's script after making several important changes. Raphaelson, a Broadway dramatist, was the sole writer or a collaborator on nine Lubitsch films. During filming, a dispute occurred between Cukor and Chevalier over Cukor's direction. In an interview quoted in a modern source, Raphaelson recounts the incidents that brought about Cukor's dismissal: Lubitsch asked Raphaelson to view the early rushes with him, and they agreed that Cukor's direction did not match Raphaelson and Lubitsch's conception of comedy. Although Cukor remained on the set, Lubitsch took over direction after two weeks. Variety reported on December 15, 1931, "Ernst Lubitsch is supervising Chevalier's One Hour With You with his meg in hand. George Cukor, titular director, does considerable sitting out while Lubitsch uses his influence with the French star." When Lubitsch demanded sole directing credit, Cukor sued for the same thing, but Hollywood Reporter announced on February 27, 1932 that Paramount claimed Cukor had nothing to do with the film after the first several days of shooting. Variety reported on March 8, 1932 that Cukor had asked for an injunction against the film's exhibition unless his credit as director was restored. Reportedly, the contention was that Cukor's credit was removed from the screen credits after the preview when Lubitsch informed Paramount that either his or Cukor's name would have to come down. According to a modern source, a court ruling restored Cukor to full co-directorship, but by that time, the film had been released. In interviews with Gavin Lambert conducted at the AFI Center for Advanced Studies between August 1970 and April 1971, Cukor said that the incident was settled out of court. As reported in Variety on April 5, 1932, Cukor eventually compromised with an assistant director credit and the chance to break his contract at Paramount to direct a film starring Constance Bennett at RKO (that film was What Price Hollywood.) An ad in Variety on March 22, 1932, gave sole directing credit to Lubitsch, but on 5 Apr, an ad stated that Lubitsch was "assisted by George Cukor." In the AFI interviews, Cukor said that B. P. Schulberg, head of Paramount, saw a lot of rushes and didn't like them. It was "goddamned agony for me," Cukor said. "I sat on the set and minded my P's and Q's. When it was over, B. P. Schulberg...called me in and said, "I'm going to ask you to do me a little favor....I'd like to take your name off this thing."
       Throughout the film, Chevalier's character speaks in asides to the audience, in which he asks their advice and apprises them of his romantic quandaries. Contemporary news items state that Raphaelson wrote a new ending, which Lubitsch shot at Paramount's Astoria studios on February 11, 1932 because Chevalier was appearing in concert in New York. In the original "final" script dated December 24, 1931 (contained in the Paramount collection in the AMPAS Library) after the "eye for an eye" line, "Colette" goes upstairs, and "Andr" (called "Henri" in the unrevised script) kisses "Adolph" on both cheeks, and he leaves. "Andr" goes happily upstairs, but then comes out of "Colette's" bedchamber and addresses the audience. The script reads: "Ladies and gentlemen. There must be no misunderstanding between us....I have said there was nothing wrong between Mitzi and me....Now I'm sure the ladies believe me. But the gentlemen May say, 'Did you really drink brandy?'...I will tell you exactly what happened. We arrived at Mitzi's house at 2:53. Mitzi handed me the key, and, naturally, I opened the door. We went up the stairs. Mitzi handed me another key, and I opened the door to her apartment. We went into her apartment and we sat down in the living room....FADE OUT"
       While not considered a musical per se, this film contains numerous songs and metered dialogue, and New York Times calls it "almost an operetta." A Motion Picture Herald exploitation review warns that this film May be "a bit risque" for small town audiences, and that neighborhood theatres should "play away from Sundays." A news item in Variety states that Paramount agreed to a promotional deal with American Tobacco for the picture. Chevalier, MacDonald, Tobin, Ruggles, and Young reportedly restaged their film dialogue for the "Lucky Strikes" NBC broadcast without monetary compensation; Lubitsch also made a guest appearance. An unidentified contemporary news item states that, during an interview on the Paramount set, MacDonald and Chevalier compared salaries, and Chevalier was surprised to learn that his co-star earned 2,000 per week for eighteen weeks, compared to his 1,000. A French-language version of this film, Une heure prs de toi was shot simultaneously with the American version. The film received an Academy Award nomination in the Outstanding Production category. According to a modern source, Carole Lombard and Kay Francis were originally set to co-star in the American version. Modern sources list the following additional cast members: Florine McKinney (Girl), Donald Novis (Singer), Eric Wilton (Butler) and Bill Elliott (Dancer). Modern sources also list the following credits: Editing William Shea, Art Director Hans Dreier, and Set Decoration A. E. Freudeman.