Maytime


2h 12m 1937
Maytime

Brief Synopsis

An opera star's manager tries to stop her romance with a penniless singer.

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Musical
Adaptation
Release Date
Mar 26, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Maytime by Rida Johnson Young, with music by Sigmund Romberg (New York, 16 Aug 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 12m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White (Sepiatone)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
14 reels

Synopsis

At a small town May Day celebration, elderly Miss Morrison tries to console her young friend Kip, whose sweetheart Barbara has been offered a job on the operatic stage. Later Barbara goes for comfort to Miss Morrison, who reveals that years ago she was the internationally famous opera diva Marcia Mornay. Miss Morrison then relates her story: Marcia, a young American singer in Paris, is guided to success by famed voice teacher Nicolai, who introduces her at the court of Louis Napoleon. That night, Nicolai proposes to Marcia and she accepts, even though they both know that she is not in love with him. Later, feeling restless, Marcia takes a ride, and is stranded in the Latin Quarter when her driver's horse runs away. In a tavern, she meets American Paul Allison, who is also a singer, but not as ambitious as Marcia. Though they are attracted to each other, she at first refuses to see him again out of loyalty to Nicolai, but soon promises to lunch with him the next day. They enjoy their lunch together, but Marcia again says that they can no longer see each other and leaves. Paul then steals tickets to see her perform The Huguenots that evening, and after he is thrown out of his seat by the manager, he goes to her dressing room and only leaves when she promises to join him at St. Cloud for a May Day celebration. During the celebration, Paul tells her he loves her, but she says that she owes Nicolai too much and could never break a promise to him. They then part after vowing always to remember their day together. As the years pass, Marcia, who has married Nicolai, becomes the toast of the operatic world, but upon her triumphant return to America, she realizes that her life is hollow. Though faithful and devoted to Nicolai, her lack of passion for him has made them both unhappy. In New York, Nicolai arranges for Marcia to sing Czaritza , co-starring with Paul, who has become a baritone of some note, but who Nicolai does not realize is in love with Marcia. At rehearsal, they act at first as if they have never met before, but Nicolai begins to suspect the truth when Archipenco, Paul's singing teacher, talks about meeting Marcia in Paris many years before. Nicolai then recognizes Paul as the young man who left Marcia's dressing room after the performance of The Huguenots . On a brilliant opening night, Nicolai becomes jealous over the obvious emotion in Paul and Marcia's onstage love scenes, but doesn't know that they plan to run away together. Later, at their hotel, when Nicolai questions Marcia, she asks for her freedom, which he promises to give. Marcia soon discovers, however, that Nicolai has gone after Paul with a gun. At Paul's apartment, Nicolai shoots him just as Marcia arrives. Paul then dies in her arms, telling her that memories of their May Day together did last him all his life. At the conclusion of her story, Miss Morrison helps Barbara realize that she and Kip belong together. As she watches the young lovers embrace, Miss Morrison dies and is finally united with her own sweetheart in death.

Cast

Jeanette Macdonald

Miss Morrison/Marcia Mornay

Nelson Eddy

Paul [Allison]

John Barrymore

Nicolai

Herman Bing

Archipenco

Tom Brown

Kip

Lynn Carver

Barbara

Rafaela Ottiano

Ellen

Charles Judels

Cabby

Paul Porcasi

Trentini

Sig Rumann

a Fanchon

Walter Kingsford

Rudyard

Russell Hicks

Bulliet

Edgar Norton

Secretary

Guy Bates Post

Napoleon

Anna Demetrio

Mrs. Fanchon

Billy Gilbert

Drunk man in crowd

Harry Hayden

Committeeman

Harry Davenport

Committeeman

Harlan Briggs

Committeeman

Robert C. Fischer

Committeeman

Frank Sheridan

Committeeman

Howard C. Hickman

Committeeman

Paul Weigel

Prompter

Adia Kuznetzoff

Student/Gypsy singer

Chris Frank

Gendarme

George Davis

Usher

Alexander Schonberg

French proprietor

Ben Weldon

Student

Jose Rubio

Student

Jack Murphy

Student

Agostino Borgato

Student

Leonid Kinskey

Student

Blair Davies

Student

Bobs Watson

Small boy

Frank Puglia

Orchestra conductor

Gus Leonard

Concierge

Brandon Hurst

Master of ceremonies

Eric Lonsdale

Aide

Guy D'ennery

Aide

Forbes Murray

Aide

Frank Elliott

Aide

Iphigenie Castiglioni

Empress Eugenie

Claude King

Noble

Barlowe Borland

Stage doorman

Mariska Aldrich

Opera singer

Charles Requa

Stage manager

Arthur Stuart Hull

Roue

Harold Entwistle

Roue

Maurice Cass

Opera house manager

Belle Mitchell

Maid

Douglas Wood

Hotel manager

Bernard Suss

Assistant manager

Henry Roquemore

Publicity man

Hans Joby

Doctor

Genaro Spagnoli

Chef

Paul Cremonesi

Opera critic

Clarence H. Wilson

Waiter

Oscar Rudolph

Peasant

Herta Lind

Peasant

Jolly Lee Harvey

Fat woman

Armand "curly" Wright

Bow and arrow stand man

Sidney Jarvis

Cabby

Albert Pollet

Cabby

Francesco Maran

Gendarme

Joan Breslaw

Queen of the May

M. Morova

Contralto in "Czarina"

Earl Covert

DeNevers

Alex Kandiba

Black priest in "Czarina"

Nick Angelo

Tenor in "success montage"

Dick Dennis

Tenor in "success montage"

Allan Watson

Bass in "success montage"

Bernice Alstock

Contralto in "success montage"

Meglin Kiddies

Children in Maypole number

Bud Murray Children

Children in Maypole number

Geneva Hall

Gypsy dancer

Leda Nicova

Gypsy dancer

Tudor Williams

Bass in "Les Huguenots

Ludovico Tomarchio

Tenor in St. Cloud Festival

Don Cossack Chorus

Zari Elmassian

Bobby Watson

Delmar Watson

Buster Slaven

Grace Hale

Luke Cosgrove

Diana Dean

Allan Cavan

Sarah Edwards

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Musical
Adaptation
Release Date
Mar 26, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Maytime by Rida Johnson Young, with music by Sigmund Romberg (New York, 16 Aug 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 12m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White (Sepiatone)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
14 reels

Award Nominations

Best Score

1937

Best Sound

1937

Articles

Maytime


Singer-actress Jeanette MacDonald gave much of the credit for the success of MGM's Maytime (1937), one of her biggest hits with frequent co-star Nelson Eddy and her personal favorite among her movies, to director Robert Z. Leonard. "He was not only one of the ablest directors but one who, being a singer himself, was deft and sympathetic in his handling of the musical phases of the story," MacDonald once said. "He didn't believe in the iron-handed technique. Mr. Leonard always kept us pliable and spontaneous." Leonard, who had sung with the California Light Opera Company before entering films as an actor in 1907, directed two other films starring MacDonald and Eddy, The Girl of the Golden West (1938) and New Moon (1940); and two other MacDonald vehicles, The Firefly (1937) and Broadway Serenade (1939).

The story of Maytime, taken from the Sigmund Romberg operetta and cast in the form of an extended flashback, begins in the early 20th century. MacDonald plays Marcia Morney, an elderly woman who looks back on her tumultuous life as an opera star who once was the toast of Paris. She marries her domineering voice instructor (John Barrymore) but falls in love with a handsome baritone (Eddy) who becomes her co-star on the American operatic stage. The triangle leads to tragedy, although Marcia is reunited with her true love in an idyllic Hereafter. The score, one of the richest in an Eddy/MacDonald movie, includes "Will You Remember," "Dancing Will Keep You Young" and the gloriously sentimental "Maytime Finale" from the Romberg original; "Czarita," an opera based on Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony and created especially for the film by music director Herbert Stothart; excerpts from several famous operas; and original songs by Stothart, Chet Forrest and Bob Wright. Stothart won an Oscar nomination for his scoring of the film, which also garnered high praise for its sets, costumes and cinematography.

Maytime the stage operetta had proved so popular that two productions ran simultaneously on Broadway in 1917. It became a silent film in 1925 before being resurrected by producer Irving Thalberg as a vehicle for Eddy and MacDonald. Filming began in Technicolor with Edmund Goulding directing and Paul Lukas and Frank Morgan among the supporting cast, but Thalberg's death on September 14, 1936, brought the production to a halt. Hunt Stromberg and Leonard stepped in as producers, with Leonard directing. Most of the existing footage was scrapped, and John Barrymore and Herman Bing took over the Lukas/Morgan roles in the now black-and-white film.

The third of eight Eddy/MacDonald movies, Maytime won the best notices of the series, including Frank Nugent's declaration in The New York Times that it was "the most entrancing operetta the screen has given us... [It] approaches perfection." MacDonald said that, in addition to Leonard's sympathetic direction, the inspirations for her glowing performance included the fact that she was "deeply in love for the first time" ñ with actor Gene Raymond, whom she married shortly after filming ended. "Whatever the impetus," she added, "I consider Marcia Morney my finest performance and my favorite role."

Producer: Hunt Stromberg, Robert Z. Leonard
Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Screenplay: Noel Langley, Claudine West (uncredited), from play by Sigmund Romberg and Rida Johnson Young
Original music: Sigmund Romberg, Herbert Stothart, Chet Forrest, Bob Wright
Non-Original music: Leo Delibes, Gaetano Donizetti, Charles Gounod, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Gioacchino Rossini, Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky, Richard Wagner
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Fredric Hope (Associate), Edwin B. Willis (Associate)
Cinematography: Oliver T. Marsh
Costume Design: Adrian
Editing: Conrad A. Nervig
Cast: Jeanette MacDonald (Marcia Morney/Miss Morrison), Nelson Eddy (Paul Allison), John Barrymore (Nicolai Nazaroff), Herman Bing (August Archipenko), Sig Ruman (Fanchon), Tom Brown (Kip Stuart), Lynne Carver (Barbara Roberts).
BW-132m. Closed captioning.

by Roger Fristoe

Maytime

Maytime

Singer-actress Jeanette MacDonald gave much of the credit for the success of MGM's Maytime (1937), one of her biggest hits with frequent co-star Nelson Eddy and her personal favorite among her movies, to director Robert Z. Leonard. "He was not only one of the ablest directors but one who, being a singer himself, was deft and sympathetic in his handling of the musical phases of the story," MacDonald once said. "He didn't believe in the iron-handed technique. Mr. Leonard always kept us pliable and spontaneous." Leonard, who had sung with the California Light Opera Company before entering films as an actor in 1907, directed two other films starring MacDonald and Eddy, The Girl of the Golden West (1938) and New Moon (1940); and two other MacDonald vehicles, The Firefly (1937) and Broadway Serenade (1939). The story of Maytime, taken from the Sigmund Romberg operetta and cast in the form of an extended flashback, begins in the early 20th century. MacDonald plays Marcia Morney, an elderly woman who looks back on her tumultuous life as an opera star who once was the toast of Paris. She marries her domineering voice instructor (John Barrymore) but falls in love with a handsome baritone (Eddy) who becomes her co-star on the American operatic stage. The triangle leads to tragedy, although Marcia is reunited with her true love in an idyllic Hereafter. The score, one of the richest in an Eddy/MacDonald movie, includes "Will You Remember," "Dancing Will Keep You Young" and the gloriously sentimental "Maytime Finale" from the Romberg original; "Czarita," an opera based on Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony and created especially for the film by music director Herbert Stothart; excerpts from several famous operas; and original songs by Stothart, Chet Forrest and Bob Wright. Stothart won an Oscar nomination for his scoring of the film, which also garnered high praise for its sets, costumes and cinematography. Maytime the stage operetta had proved so popular that two productions ran simultaneously on Broadway in 1917. It became a silent film in 1925 before being resurrected by producer Irving Thalberg as a vehicle for Eddy and MacDonald. Filming began in Technicolor with Edmund Goulding directing and Paul Lukas and Frank Morgan among the supporting cast, but Thalberg's death on September 14, 1936, brought the production to a halt. Hunt Stromberg and Leonard stepped in as producers, with Leonard directing. Most of the existing footage was scrapped, and John Barrymore and Herman Bing took over the Lukas/Morgan roles in the now black-and-white film. The third of eight Eddy/MacDonald movies, Maytime won the best notices of the series, including Frank Nugent's declaration in The New York Times that it was "the most entrancing operetta the screen has given us... [It] approaches perfection." MacDonald said that, in addition to Leonard's sympathetic direction, the inspirations for her glowing performance included the fact that she was "deeply in love for the first time" ñ with actor Gene Raymond, whom she married shortly after filming ended. "Whatever the impetus," she added, "I consider Marcia Morney my finest performance and my favorite role." Producer: Hunt Stromberg, Robert Z. Leonard Director: Robert Z. Leonard Screenplay: Noel Langley, Claudine West (uncredited), from play by Sigmund Romberg and Rida Johnson Young Original music: Sigmund Romberg, Herbert Stothart, Chet Forrest, Bob Wright Non-Original music: Leo Delibes, Gaetano Donizetti, Charles Gounod, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Gioacchino Rossini, Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky, Richard Wagner Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Fredric Hope (Associate), Edwin B. Willis (Associate) Cinematography: Oliver T. Marsh Costume Design: Adrian Editing: Conrad A. Nervig Cast: Jeanette MacDonald (Marcia Morney/Miss Morrison), Nelson Eddy (Paul Allison), John Barrymore (Nicolai Nazaroff), Herman Bing (August Archipenko), Sig Ruman (Fanchon), Tom Brown (Kip Stuart), Lynne Carver (Barbara Roberts). BW-132m. Closed captioning. by Roger Fristoe

Quotes

Trivia

One of MGM mogul Irving Thalberg's personal projects, Maytime originally began filming in Technicolor, with Paul Lukas as Nikolai Nazaroff. When Thalberg died production was halted. When it was able to resume, black and white was selected as a more economical format. Lukas was no longer available so Barrymore took over his role.

The original operetta opened on Broadway in New York on 16 August 1917. It was so popular a second production was added to run simultaneously.

Notes

According to contemporary news items, Warner Bros. owned the rights to the Rida Johnson Young, Sigmund Romberg operetta Maytime, but sold them to M-G-M in early 1935. At the time of M-G-M's acquisition of the property, opera singer Grace Moore was announced as the female star, and the picture was being considered for production as M-G-M's first three-strip Techicolor feature. A March 30, 1935 news item noted that M-G-M production chief Irving Thalberg had assigned Frances Marion to write the screenplay for Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, however, a June 20, 1935 news item again mentioned Moore as the female star, co-starring with Eddy in a James Kevin McGuinness and Richard Schayer story. When production began on August 21, 1936, MacDonald and Eddy were the stars. It was announed at that time that shooting had been moved forward three weeks to accomodate MacDonald, who was about to marry actor Gene Raymond. At that time, Edmund Goulding was the director. The wedding was postponed and did not take place until June 1937, however. Following Thalberg's death on September 13, 1936, filming on Maytime stopped, along with other all other pictures in production on the lot. Maytime resumed production within a few days, but filming again stopped in late Sep. Production did not resume again until 29 October when Robert Z. Leonard was named the new director. Although some of the footage shot in August and September May have been included in the released film, an entirely new script was written and several actors were replaced. Actors listed on the August 24, 1936 production chart who did not continue on the film when production resumed in November included Julie Haydon, Paul Lukas, Frank Morgan, Ted Healy, Stanley Morner and Mary Phillips. Although Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich were the only screenwriters mentioned on production charts just after the resumption of shooting in early Oct, the only writer credited onscreen and in reviews was Noel Langley. According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter on March 3, 1937, the then twenty-five-year-old Langley wrote the screenplay for Maytime in three-and-a-half days. In addition to Langley, Claudine West was credited with contributions to the treatment by the Screen Achievements Bulletin. The extent of the work of writers Marion, McGuinness, Schayer, Hackett and Goodrich that is reflected in the completed film has not been determined. According to a news item on August 15, 1936, Dr. William Axt was to direct the operatic sequences of Il Trovatore and Tosca; however, Film Daily Year Book and modern sources credit the operatic sequences to William von Wymetal, and Tosca was not included in the completed film. It is possible that Wymetal replaced Axt when the production resumed after its interruption in late Sep. Although the appearance of child actor Bobs Watson in the film has been confirmed by visual identification in the viewed print, it has not been determined whether the actor "Bobby Watson," listed in the Call Bureau Cast Service as a "bit," is the adult character actor of that name or a misspelling of Bobs Watson's name. An ad in Hollywood Reporter on March 12, 1937, mentions a number of people who were connnected with the production. The following are the names of persons whose specific connection to the film has not been determined: Jack Mackenzie, Virgil Apgar, Howard Culver, Charles Ryan, Olga Collins, Ann Lawson, Janet Guenther, Melford Cline, Clarence Burdick, Fred Phillips, Otto Krotka, Kenneth Crane, James Harper, Margaret Hart, Dick Henrikson, Bert Haines, Al White, Murtel Gallagher, Mert Burdick, Harry Kurley, Garland Briden and John Scura. MacDonald and Eddy recreated their roles for a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on September 4, 1944.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1937

Released in USA on video.

Released in United States 1937