Pop Culture 101: LOVE ME TONIGHT
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Jeanette MacDonald belied her strait-laced image in a promotional short publicizing Love Me Tonight. In it she offered a sizzling rendition of the title song while crawling around a satin-draped bed.
To re-issue the film after the institution of strict Production Code enforcement in 1934, Paramount had to cut eight minutes of risqué lines and revealing shots of the female stars. Among them was Myrna Loy's chorus of the song "Mimi," because her gown was too low cut. The cuts are now considered lost.
The opening sequence scored to street sounds would inspire Mamoulian's stage direction three years later of a similar scene, scored to the cries of street peddlers, in George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess on Broadway in 1935.
Several of the songs from Love Me Tonight are now considered classics, though they were not as popular when the film was first released. "Isn't It Romantic" became a jazz standard after Ella Fitzgerald included it in Ella Sings the Rodgers and Hart Songbook, with later recordings by Peggy Lee and Rod Stewart. "Lover," originally sung to a horse, was also included on Fitzgerald's album, though its most famous recordings are a 1948 instrumental by Les Paul and Peggy Lee's 1952 version, set against a frenetic string accompaniment.
Composer Hugh Martin and playwright Marshall Barer wrote a musical called A Little Night Music in the early '60s as a vehicle for MacDonald. One number, "Wasn't It Romantic," was intended as a counter-melody to "Isn't It Romantic," with the latter playing on a projection screen while MacDonald sang in harmony with herself. She turned the project down. It finally debuted in a Los Angeles concert performance in 1998 under the title Happy Lot!. The performance was dedicated to MacDonald.
by Frank Miller