Love Me Tonight


1h 2m 1932
Love Me Tonight

Brief Synopsis

A Parisian tailor falls in love with a princess.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Adaptation
Release Date
Aug 26, 1932
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 18 Aug 1932
Production Company
Paramount Publix Corp.
Distribution Company
Paramount Publix Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Le Tailleur au Château ( The Tailor in the Castle ) by Léopold Marchand and Paul Armont (Paris, 4 Aug 1924).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 2m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Synopsis

Struggling Parisian tailor Maurice Courtelin finds he has been bilked on a bill for fifteen suits by the Vicomte Gilbert de Vareze. When he discovers that de Vareze has a bad reputation with tailors all over Paris, Maurice becomes outraged and goes to the Chateau d'Artelins to collect his bill. Along the road to the chateau, Princess Jeanette narrowly avoids a collision of her buggy with Maurice's car. Maurice immediately falls in love with Jeanette and, although flustered and haughty, she is delighted by him. Neither are aware of the other's social status. When Jeanette goes home to the Chateau d'Artelins she faints, and the doctor recommends marriage to a man her age as a curative. Maurice arrives and de Vareze, afraid to expose his indebtedness, nervously introduces him to the Duke as a baron, thereby enabling Maurice to join the other guests of rank. While Maurice is on a royal hunt, Count de Savignac discovers that Maurice has no lineage, and informs the Duke. De Vareze then intimates that Maurice is actually royalty traveling under a nom de plume . A costume ball is thrown in honor of Maurice and he comes dressed as a Parisian "Apache." He then follows Jeanette into the garden where they proclaim their love for each other. The next morning, Maurices dismisses Jeanette's seamstress and the insulted seamstress tells everyone that Maurice intends to sew Jeanette's riding habit. Soon Maurice must confess his true identity, appalling Jeanette and everyone in the chateau. Maurice collects his bill and boards a train for Paris, but when Jeanette realizes that she loves Maurice despite his lowly profession, she takes the fastest horse and catches up with the train, shouting that she would love to be a tailor's wife. Maurice does not accept this proclamation, so Jeanette stands on the train tracks until the train is forced to stop, and Maurice and Jeanette joyfully embrace.

Photo Collections

Love Me Tonight - Publicity Stills
Here are a few publicity stills from Paramount's Love Me Tonight (1932), starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.

Videos

Movie Clip

Love Me Tonight (1932) - Isn't It Romantic? The gypsies in the middle of the number, then introducing Princess Jeanette (MacDonald) finishing Rodgers & Hart's Isn't It Romantic, visited by the Count (Charles Butterworth), in Rouben Mamoulian's Love Me Tonight, 1932.
Love Me Tonight (1932) - Vicomte De Vareze Tailor Maurice (Maurice Chevalier) with friend Emile (Bert Roach), explaining about his new client the Vicomte (Charlie Ruggles) who unexpectedly arrives, early in Rouben Mamoulian's Love Me Tonight, 1932.
Love Me Tonight (1932) - Mimi Car trouble for tailor Maurice (Chevalier), pursuing a nobleman who's skipped on his bill, then meeting Princess Jeanette (MacDonald) and improvising Rodgers & Hart's Mimi, in Rouben Mamoulian's Love Me Tonight, 1932.
Love Me Tonight (1932) - Song Of Paree From the credits, legit Paris stock footage, a nifty city-sound sequence, and introduction of Maurice Chevalier as tailor "Maurice," with Rodgers & Hart's Song Of Paree, from Love Me Tonight, 1932.
Love Me Tonight (1932) - Good Homes For Bad Stenographers Meeting the family at the estate, the Duke (C. Aubrey Smith), and his niece Countess Valentine (Myrna Loy), whose cousin the impecunious Vicomte (Charlie Ruggles) then arrives, in Rouben Mamoulian's Love Me Tonight, 1932.
Love Me Tonight (1932) - Give Me Two Hours Tailor Maurice (Chevalier), still posing as a nobleman, helps undress his new love Princess Jeanette (MacDonald), the household (Ethel Wales, C. Aubrey Smith, Charlie Ruggles, Charles Butterworth et al) erupting, in Rouben Mamoulian's Love Me Tonight. 1932.

Trailer

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Adaptation
Release Date
Aug 26, 1932
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 18 Aug 1932
Production Company
Paramount Publix Corp.
Distribution Company
Paramount Publix Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Le Tailleur au Château ( The Tailor in the Castle ) by Léopold Marchand and Paul Armont (Paris, 4 Aug 1924).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 2m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Articles

The Essentials - Love Me Tonight


SYNOPSIS

Masquerading as royalty leads to a romantic encounter between a tailor, Maurice 'Baron' Courtelin and Princess Jeanette in France. Tired of extending credit to Viscount Gilbert de Varéze, a womanizing aristocrat, Courtelin pursues him to a remote chateau, where he's mistaken for one of the man's friends. Desperate not to have his philandering and bad debts exposed, the viscount begs the baron to go along with the charade, which he's only too happy to do once he falls in love with the Princess.

Producer-Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Screenplay: Samuel Hoffenstein, Waldemar Young, George Marion, Jr.
Based on the play Tailor in the Chateau by Leopold Marchand and Paul Armont Cinematography: Victor Milner
Editing: William Shea
Art Direction: Hans Dreier
Music: Nathaniel Finston, Richard Rodgers
Cast: Maurice Chevalier (Maurice Courtelin), Jeanette MacDonald (Princess Jeanette), Charlie Ruggles (Viscount Gilbert de Vereze), Charles Butterworth (Count de Savignac), Myrna Loy (Countess Valentine), C. Aubrey Smith (The Duke), Elizabeth Patterson, Ethel Griffies, Blanche Frederici (Aunts), George "Gabby" Hayes (Grocer), Mary Doran (Madame Dupont), Cecil Cunningham (Laundress).
BW-104 m.

Why LOVE ME TONIGHT is Essential

Critics and industry members like director Vincente Minnelli and composer Kurt Weill have hailed Love Me Tonight as the perfect screen musical because of its tight integration of music and story.

Love Me Tonight is considered the screen's first integrated musical, in which script and musical numbers are so closely related that every number serves a dramatic purpose. As such, it was actually the precursor to the stage's first integrated musical, Oklahoma!, by a decade. Among the film's innovation were the use of rhyming dialogue and blank verse to connect songs and the use of song to define character and bridge scenes. One number in particular, "Isn't It Romantic," is carried through a variety of locales as different characters hear it and pick it up, starting with leading man Maurice Chevalier and ultimately ending up being sung by Jeanette MacDonald, who will become his love interest later in the film.

This was director Rouben Mamoulian's first screen musical. He would go on to direct some of the greatest musicals in American theatre history -- including Porgy and Bess, Oklahoma! and Lost in the Stars. His big screen musicals included The Gay Desperado (1936), for which he won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Director, and Silk Stockings (1957).

Composer Richard Rodgers considered Love Me Tonight his finest work in motion pictures, in a career that included the original screen musicals Hallelujah, I'm a Bum (1933), Evergreen (1934) and State Fair (1945).

Love Me Tonight gave Maurice Chevalier his signature song, "Mimi," by Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Many critics consider it his best Hollywood film.

This is one of the first films to display Myrna Loy's gift for comedy. At the time, her home studio, MGM, was putting her into a string of roles as either colorless ingénues or villainesses, often of Asian heritage. Her role in Love Me Tonight as a man-crazy countess not only gave her an elegant wardrobe, but the chance to show what she could do with polished comic dialogue.

by Frank Miller
The Essentials - Love Me Tonight

The Essentials - Love Me Tonight

SYNOPSIS Masquerading as royalty leads to a romantic encounter between a tailor, Maurice 'Baron' Courtelin and Princess Jeanette in France. Tired of extending credit to Viscount Gilbert de Varéze, a womanizing aristocrat, Courtelin pursues him to a remote chateau, where he's mistaken for one of the man's friends. Desperate not to have his philandering and bad debts exposed, the viscount begs the baron to go along with the charade, which he's only too happy to do once he falls in love with the Princess. Producer-Director: Rouben Mamoulian Screenplay: Samuel Hoffenstein, Waldemar Young, George Marion, Jr. Based on the play Tailor in the Chateau by Leopold Marchand and Paul Armont Cinematography: Victor Milner Editing: William Shea Art Direction: Hans Dreier Music: Nathaniel Finston, Richard Rodgers Cast: Maurice Chevalier (Maurice Courtelin), Jeanette MacDonald (Princess Jeanette), Charlie Ruggles (Viscount Gilbert de Vereze), Charles Butterworth (Count de Savignac), Myrna Loy (Countess Valentine), C. Aubrey Smith (The Duke), Elizabeth Patterson, Ethel Griffies, Blanche Frederici (Aunts), George "Gabby" Hayes (Grocer), Mary Doran (Madame Dupont), Cecil Cunningham (Laundress). BW-104 m. Why LOVE ME TONIGHT is Essential Critics and industry members like director Vincente Minnelli and composer Kurt Weill have hailed Love Me Tonight as the perfect screen musical because of its tight integration of music and story. Love Me Tonight is considered the screen's first integrated musical, in which script and musical numbers are so closely related that every number serves a dramatic purpose. As such, it was actually the precursor to the stage's first integrated musical, Oklahoma!, by a decade. Among the film's innovation were the use of rhyming dialogue and blank verse to connect songs and the use of song to define character and bridge scenes. One number in particular, "Isn't It Romantic," is carried through a variety of locales as different characters hear it and pick it up, starting with leading man Maurice Chevalier and ultimately ending up being sung by Jeanette MacDonald, who will become his love interest later in the film. This was director Rouben Mamoulian's first screen musical. He would go on to direct some of the greatest musicals in American theatre history -- including Porgy and Bess, Oklahoma! and Lost in the Stars. His big screen musicals included The Gay Desperado (1936), for which he won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Director, and Silk Stockings (1957). Composer Richard Rodgers considered Love Me Tonight his finest work in motion pictures, in a career that included the original screen musicals Hallelujah, I'm a Bum (1933), Evergreen (1934) and State Fair (1945). Love Me Tonight gave Maurice Chevalier his signature song, "Mimi," by Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Many critics consider it his best Hollywood film. This is one of the first films to display Myrna Loy's gift for comedy. At the time, her home studio, MGM, was putting her into a string of roles as either colorless ingénues or villainesses, often of Asian heritage. Her role in Love Me Tonight as a man-crazy countess not only gave her an elegant wardrobe, but the chance to show what she could do with polished comic dialogue. by Frank Miller

Pop Culture 101 - Love Me Tonight


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

Pop Culture 101 - Love Me Tonight

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

Trivia - Love Me Tonight - Trivia & Fun Facts About LOVE ME TONIGHT


The original play of Love Me Tonight by Leopold Marchand and Paul Armont featured a street urchin named Kiki who helps resolve the plot. Paramount had hired Jackie Coogan's brother Robert for the film role, but director Rouben Mamoulian decided to cut it.

The script for Love Me Tonight features sly references to the stars' images. The lead characters are named Maurice and Princess Jeanette. When the camera first moves into Maurice Chevalier's room, his trade-marked straw hat is seen hanging on the wall over an arrangement of cracks and stains that are actually a caricature of the star. Not only is MacDonald's character as straight-laced as the actress was off-screen, but she meets Chevalier when her carriage is overturned. Two years before the film's release, MacDonald was rumored to have been the mystery woman involved in a car crash with Italy's Prince Umberto (she was nowhere near Europe at the time, but she was his favorite movie star).

When he couldn't find a street on the Paramount back lot suitable for one scene, Mamoulian had the studio rent one of MGM's street sets, moving the entire company there for a few days.

Myrna Loy's few lines in the song, "The Son of a Gun Is a Tailor," mark the only time she ever sang on screen.

Memorable Quotes from LOVE ME TONIGHT

"I fell flat on my flute." -- Charles Butterworth as the Count de Savignac.

"Valentine, can you go for a doctor?"
"Certainly, bring him right in."--Charlie Ruggles, as Viscount Gilbert de Vereze, and Myrna Loy, as Countess Valentine, when the latter faints.

"You're not wasting away, you're just wasted." -- Joseph Cawthorn, as Dr. Armand de Fontinac, describing the medical problems of Jeanette MacDonald, as Princess Jeanette.

"A peach must be eaten, a drum must be beaten, and a woman needs something like that." -- Cawthorn, as Dr. Armand de Fontinac.

"What are you doing now?"
"I'm thinking. I'm thinking of you without these clothes."
"Open your eyes at once!"
"Oh no, pardon madam. With different clothes. Smart clothes." -- MacDonald, questioning the intentions of Maurice Chevalier, as Maurice Courtelin.

"Tell me, do you ever think of anything but men, dear?"
"Oh, yes."
"Of what?"
"Schoolboys."-- MacDonald and Loy, as Countess Valentine.

"You know too much about hunting, etiquette, tradition. You know nothing about style, charm, love" -- Chevalier, as Maurice Courtelin, assessing MacDonald

Compiled by Frank Miller

Trivia - Love Me Tonight - Trivia & Fun Facts About LOVE ME TONIGHT

The original play of Love Me Tonight by Leopold Marchand and Paul Armont featured a street urchin named Kiki who helps resolve the plot. Paramount had hired Jackie Coogan's brother Robert for the film role, but director Rouben Mamoulian decided to cut it. The script for Love Me Tonight features sly references to the stars' images. The lead characters are named Maurice and Princess Jeanette. When the camera first moves into Maurice Chevalier's room, his trade-marked straw hat is seen hanging on the wall over an arrangement of cracks and stains that are actually a caricature of the star. Not only is MacDonald's character as straight-laced as the actress was off-screen, but she meets Chevalier when her carriage is overturned. Two years before the film's release, MacDonald was rumored to have been the mystery woman involved in a car crash with Italy's Prince Umberto (she was nowhere near Europe at the time, but she was his favorite movie star). When he couldn't find a street on the Paramount back lot suitable for one scene, Mamoulian had the studio rent one of MGM's street sets, moving the entire company there for a few days. Myrna Loy's few lines in the song, "The Son of a Gun Is a Tailor," mark the only time she ever sang on screen. Memorable Quotes from LOVE ME TONIGHT "I fell flat on my flute." -- Charles Butterworth as the Count de Savignac. "Valentine, can you go for a doctor?" "Certainly, bring him right in."--Charlie Ruggles, as Viscount Gilbert de Vereze, and Myrna Loy, as Countess Valentine, when the latter faints. "You're not wasting away, you're just wasted." -- Joseph Cawthorn, as Dr. Armand de Fontinac, describing the medical problems of Jeanette MacDonald, as Princess Jeanette. "A peach must be eaten, a drum must be beaten, and a woman needs something like that." -- Cawthorn, as Dr. Armand de Fontinac. "What are you doing now?" "I'm thinking. I'm thinking of you without these clothes." "Open your eyes at once!" "Oh no, pardon madam. With different clothes. Smart clothes." -- MacDonald, questioning the intentions of Maurice Chevalier, as Maurice Courtelin. "Tell me, do you ever think of anything but men, dear?" "Oh, yes." "Of what?" "Schoolboys."-- MacDonald and Loy, as Countess Valentine. "You know too much about hunting, etiquette, tradition. You know nothing about style, charm, love" -- Chevalier, as Maurice Courtelin, assessing MacDonald Compiled by Frank Miller

The Big Idea - Love Me Tonight


Paramount Pictures President Adolph Zukor had just survived a major corporate purge triggered by the studio's declining box office in the early years of the Depression. One financial problem he had to deal with was the inactivity of two of his biggest stars, Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, who were drawing large salaries ($10,000 a week for the former; $5,000 for the latter) with no film assignments planned for either. The team's usual director, Ernst Lubitsch, was in the midst of contract negotiations and playing hard to get. Desperate to put the stars to work, he turned to Rouben Mamoulian, a stage director who had scored at the studio with the innovative sound films Applause (1929) and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931). Although exhausted from his work on the latter film, Mamoulian couldn't resist Zukor's offer of a free hand in choosing and shooting the picture.

Playwright Leopold Marchand suggested that a piece he had written with Paul Armont, Le Tailleur au Chateau, might provide Mamoulian with the perfect plot for his musical. The director agreed that the tale of a tailor passing as nobility would have just the kind of fairy tale quality he was looking for, a reverse-gender Cinderella story. Mamoulian then chose one of Broadway's top songwriting duos, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, to write the score. In a rare move for a film or stage musical, he had them write the songs first, making sure that each lyric related closely to plot and character. He also had Hart write rhymed dialog for some scenes. Only then did he put the screenwriters to work. The result, Love Me Tonight, was a peerless integration of script and score, perfectly fitting the director's concept of the film as an illustrated musical score.

Mamoulian arranged to borrow Myrna Loy, whom he had dated on occasion, from MGM for the role of Countess Valentine, MacDonald's man-crazy cousin, because he thought she had a knack for high comedy. At the time, she was primarily cast as Asian temptresses, but two years later she would live up to his expectations when she starred as Nora Charles opposite William Powell in the screwball comedy-mystery, The Thin Man (1934).

Initially, Chevalier insisted that Mamoulian give him a chance to work on the script and score, but the director refused. When the actor insisted he could not make a film on which he had no input, Mamoulian told him to go to Zukor and refuse to make the movie. "I'll be most grateful because I don't want to do this picture in the first place." Instead, the star gave in, albeit reluctantly.

Mamoulian spent so much time writing and re-writing the script of Love Me Tonight that the start date was pushed back several times. As a result, Paramount had to pay off theatres that had engaged Chevalier to perform during what would become the shooting period. That helped drive the budget close to $1 million.

by Frank Miller

SOURCE:
Maurice Chevalier by Michael Freedland

The Big Idea - Love Me Tonight

Paramount Pictures President Adolph Zukor had just survived a major corporate purge triggered by the studio's declining box office in the early years of the Depression. One financial problem he had to deal with was the inactivity of two of his biggest stars, Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, who were drawing large salaries ($10,000 a week for the former; $5,000 for the latter) with no film assignments planned for either. The team's usual director, Ernst Lubitsch, was in the midst of contract negotiations and playing hard to get. Desperate to put the stars to work, he turned to Rouben Mamoulian, a stage director who had scored at the studio with the innovative sound films Applause (1929) and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931). Although exhausted from his work on the latter film, Mamoulian couldn't resist Zukor's offer of a free hand in choosing and shooting the picture. Playwright Leopold Marchand suggested that a piece he had written with Paul Armont, Le Tailleur au Chateau, might provide Mamoulian with the perfect plot for his musical. The director agreed that the tale of a tailor passing as nobility would have just the kind of fairy tale quality he was looking for, a reverse-gender Cinderella story. Mamoulian then chose one of Broadway's top songwriting duos, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, to write the score. In a rare move for a film or stage musical, he had them write the songs first, making sure that each lyric related closely to plot and character. He also had Hart write rhymed dialog for some scenes. Only then did he put the screenwriters to work. The result, Love Me Tonight, was a peerless integration of script and score, perfectly fitting the director's concept of the film as an illustrated musical score. Mamoulian arranged to borrow Myrna Loy, whom he had dated on occasion, from MGM for the role of Countess Valentine, MacDonald's man-crazy cousin, because he thought she had a knack for high comedy. At the time, she was primarily cast as Asian temptresses, but two years later she would live up to his expectations when she starred as Nora Charles opposite William Powell in the screwball comedy-mystery, The Thin Man (1934). Initially, Chevalier insisted that Mamoulian give him a chance to work on the script and score, but the director refused. When the actor insisted he could not make a film on which he had no input, Mamoulian told him to go to Zukor and refuse to make the movie. "I'll be most grateful because I don't want to do this picture in the first place." Instead, the star gave in, albeit reluctantly. Mamoulian spent so much time writing and re-writing the script of Love Me Tonight that the start date was pushed back several times. As a result, Paramount had to pay off theatres that had engaged Chevalier to perform during what would become the shooting period. That helped drive the budget close to $1 million. by Frank Miller SOURCE: Maurice Chevalier by Michael Freedland

Behind the Camera - Love Me Tonight


On the first day of shooting for Love Me Tonight, director Rouben Mamoulian was surprised to realize that the off-screen Maurice Chevalier was nothing like his screen image. The real man was sour and unhappy, sulking around the set between shots. Only when the director called "Action!" did his star turn on the joie de vivre.

Paramount executives thought Myrna Loy's character, Countess Valentine, superfluous and tried to make him cut her from the script. Instead, he sent out official scripts in which she had no lines, then privately sent Myrna Loy her scenes. When she started turning up in rushes, the executives were so happy with her performance, they stopped trying to eliminate the role.

For Love Me Tonight, Paramount assigned Mamoulian most of the crew that had worked on Ernst Lubitsch's musicals. Used to the congenial atmosphere of the other director's sets, they greatly resented Mamoulian's more somber approach. Before long the crew's hostility toward Mamoulian came out into the open. One day a lamp fell perilously close to the director, and later a soundman kept a sneeze on the track for a scene. Concerned about his poor rapport with the company, Mamoulian finally turned to MacDonald, who was also displeased with his methods. She told him to lighten up. "We are supposed to be making a comedy, a gay picture full of laughter. But it's almost impossible in the funereal atmosphere you're creating." He took her advice and the problem faded.

The biggest problem Mamoulian had with MacDonald was the constant presence of her manager and future fiancé, Bob Ritchie, on the set. Ritchie kept trying to direct her performance from the sidelines. Finally, Mamoulian had enough and had him barred from the set.

Originally the costume designer put MacDonald and Loy in similar gowns for the masquerade sequence, but seeing how good Loy looked in hers, the star demanded it for herself. Instead Mamoulian and Loy found an old black dress in wardrobe. Not only did it stand out perfectly, but it also stood out from MacDonald and the rest of the cast because Loy was the only one dressed in dark colors.

To appease the French consul in Los Angeles, a scene in which MacDonald strikes a servant was cut.

Paramount sold Love Me Tonight with the tag line, "Warm Love! Hilarious fun! Sweet music! Hot lyrics!"

MacDonald took off for a European tour after completing the film, declaring that if she ever returned to the movies it would be in dramatic roles. She also stated that she had no interest in playing any more risqué roles: "I just feel I have gone far enough in lingerie."

When Chevalier divorced his first wife in 1932, rumors spread that he had left her for MacDonald. At first they tried not to let it affect their friendship. When MacDonald toured to Europe after finishing Love Me Tonight, Chevalier offered her the use of his villa near Cannes, which outraged her manager, Bob Ritchie. To quell the rumors, MacDonald decided to decline his offer, though she still met with his family while there.

by Frank Miller

SOURCES:
Hollywood Diva: A Biography of Jeanette MacDonald by Edward Baron Turk

Behind the Camera - Love Me Tonight

On the first day of shooting for Love Me Tonight, director Rouben Mamoulian was surprised to realize that the off-screen Maurice Chevalier was nothing like his screen image. The real man was sour and unhappy, sulking around the set between shots. Only when the director called "Action!" did his star turn on the joie de vivre. Paramount executives thought Myrna Loy's character, Countess Valentine, superfluous and tried to make him cut her from the script. Instead, he sent out official scripts in which she had no lines, then privately sent Myrna Loy her scenes. When she started turning up in rushes, the executives were so happy with her performance, they stopped trying to eliminate the role. For Love Me Tonight, Paramount assigned Mamoulian most of the crew that had worked on Ernst Lubitsch's musicals. Used to the congenial atmosphere of the other director's sets, they greatly resented Mamoulian's more somber approach. Before long the crew's hostility toward Mamoulian came out into the open. One day a lamp fell perilously close to the director, and later a soundman kept a sneeze on the track for a scene. Concerned about his poor rapport with the company, Mamoulian finally turned to MacDonald, who was also displeased with his methods. She told him to lighten up. "We are supposed to be making a comedy, a gay picture full of laughter. But it's almost impossible in the funereal atmosphere you're creating." He took her advice and the problem faded. The biggest problem Mamoulian had with MacDonald was the constant presence of her manager and future fiancé, Bob Ritchie, on the set. Ritchie kept trying to direct her performance from the sidelines. Finally, Mamoulian had enough and had him barred from the set. Originally the costume designer put MacDonald and Loy in similar gowns for the masquerade sequence, but seeing how good Loy looked in hers, the star demanded it for herself. Instead Mamoulian and Loy found an old black dress in wardrobe. Not only did it stand out perfectly, but it also stood out from MacDonald and the rest of the cast because Loy was the only one dressed in dark colors. To appease the French consul in Los Angeles, a scene in which MacDonald strikes a servant was cut. Paramount sold Love Me Tonight with the tag line, "Warm Love! Hilarious fun! Sweet music! Hot lyrics!" MacDonald took off for a European tour after completing the film, declaring that if she ever returned to the movies it would be in dramatic roles. She also stated that she had no interest in playing any more risqué roles: "I just feel I have gone far enough in lingerie." When Chevalier divorced his first wife in 1932, rumors spread that he had left her for MacDonald. At first they tried not to let it affect their friendship. When MacDonald toured to Europe after finishing Love Me Tonight, Chevalier offered her the use of his villa near Cannes, which outraged her manager, Bob Ritchie. To quell the rumors, MacDonald decided to decline his offer, though she still met with his family while there. by Frank Miller SOURCES: Hollywood Diva: A Biography of Jeanette MacDonald by Edward Baron Turk

Love Me Tonight


With the language of motion pictures now so indelibly fixed in our collective consciousness, it's hard to imagine that early filmmakers actually had to sit down and construct that language. D.W. Griffith may have pioneered such all-important filmmaking techniques as close-ups, tracking shots, and cross-cutting. But, outside of stationary theatrical productions, there was simply no guideline for telling a story on film through the use of music. That's why Rouben Mamoulian's Love Me Tonight (1932) is considered a pivotal moment in movie history. With this picture, Mamoulian, as much as any other director, shaped the language of movie musicals. In fact, many critics would argue that its dazzling opening sequence has never been equaled for sheer resourcefulness.

The narrative, unlike Mamoulian's technique, is simple enough. A jovial Parisian tailor named Maurice (Maurice Chevalier) is forced to approach one of his customers, the Vicomte de Vareze (Charles Ruggles), for payment of a bill. When Maurice visits the Count's estate, the Count is embarrassed to admit that he can't pay him. In an attempt to make it up to Maurice, the Count introduces the tailor to his royal friends as a Baron. Princess Jeanette (Jeanette MacDonald), who took no notice of Maurice when he was a commoner, now finds herself falling for him, and romance ensues. Myrna Loy is also on hand as a nymphomaniac Countess who delivers an armful of memorable zingers before everything reaches the expected happy ending.

The opening sequence that people are still so enamored of consists of two lengthy songs, and several snatches of dialogue, that introduce a vast array of characters while simultaneously conveying the environment they inhabit. Mamoulian's camera journeys from the rooftops of Paris (actually a remarkable facsimile built on Paramount's backlot) to a crew of workers paving a street, then on to some shoemakers whose hammers join the symphony of construction sounds. We then see ­ and hear ­ bums sleeping in the street, a woman shaking out some bed sheets, and cars with horns that honk out another counterpoint to the building rhythm. Finally, we come to rest on Maurice, who's getting dressed for the day. But this virtuoso piece of filmmaking is only just getting started!

Maurice will begin singing "The Song of Paree" while leaving his apartment, and several other characters will get introduced. Eventually, Maurice will have reason to croon Isn't it Romantic, and the song itself will travel across the city, taking on different arrangements courtesy of, among others, a platoon of marching soldiers and a gypsy violinist. Before it's over, MacDonald, Charles Butterworth, and Loy will also be introduced. This elegant sequence puts today's slash-and-burn style of storytelling to absolute shame. It's what people mean when they reference "the magic of movies"- you can only accomplish this kind of thing on film.

Actually, it's a bit surprising that Mamoulian was so audacious. He made his name in the musical theater, first with an opera that was produced in Rochester, New York, then with several successful Broadway shows. But of all the theater directors who eventually ventured into movies, Mamoulian was the first to realize cinema's music-related possibilities.

Mamoulian's other groundbreaking move on Love Me Tonight was to finish the script after Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart completed their songs. In this way, he was able to see to it that the tunes moved the plot along, rather than simply appearing out of nowhere, as if pasted into a storyline that could have just as easily existed without them. It worked like gangbusters, and became one of the central techniques of great Hollywood musicals. In later years, Mamoulian would bring his talents back to the stage, where he would direct such legendary musicals as Porgy and Bess and Oklahoma!.

Though such diverse experts as Kurt Weill and Vincente Minnelli would call Love Me Tonight the greatest musical ever made, its production wasn't completely smooth. Mamoulian never really got along with MacDonald, who found the director to be dry and humorless. And most of the crew agreed with her. One electrician even dropped a lamp dangerously close to Mamoulian's head, and a sound man purposely allowed some audio mishaps (like a sneeze) to be recorded on the soundtrack.

Mamoulian finally approached MacDonald for help, and she told him, "Rouben, we are supposed to be making a comedy, a gay picture full of laughter. But it's almost impossible in the funereal atmosphere you're creating." Mamoulian listened, and soon thereafter saw to it that a more relaxed working environment was in place. It certainly shows in the finished product.

Produced and directed by: Rouben Mamoulian
Screenplay: Samuel Hoffenstein, Waldemar Young, and George Marion, Jr.
Songs: Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
Photography: Victor Milner
Editing: Rouben Mamoulian and William Shea
Art Director: Hans Dreier
Sound: M.M. Paggi
Cast: Maurice Chevalier (Maurice Courtelin), Jeanette MacDonald (Princess Jeanette), Charles Ruggles (Vicomte de Vareze), Charles Butterworth (Count de Savignac), C. Aubrey Smith (The Duke), Myrna Loy (Countess Valentine).
BW-89m.

by Paul Tatara

Love Me Tonight

With the language of motion pictures now so indelibly fixed in our collective consciousness, it's hard to imagine that early filmmakers actually had to sit down and construct that language. D.W. Griffith may have pioneered such all-important filmmaking techniques as close-ups, tracking shots, and cross-cutting. But, outside of stationary theatrical productions, there was simply no guideline for telling a story on film through the use of music. That's why Rouben Mamoulian's Love Me Tonight (1932) is considered a pivotal moment in movie history. With this picture, Mamoulian, as much as any other director, shaped the language of movie musicals. In fact, many critics would argue that its dazzling opening sequence has never been equaled for sheer resourcefulness. The narrative, unlike Mamoulian's technique, is simple enough. A jovial Parisian tailor named Maurice (Maurice Chevalier) is forced to approach one of his customers, the Vicomte de Vareze (Charles Ruggles), for payment of a bill. When Maurice visits the Count's estate, the Count is embarrassed to admit that he can't pay him. In an attempt to make it up to Maurice, the Count introduces the tailor to his royal friends as a Baron. Princess Jeanette (Jeanette MacDonald), who took no notice of Maurice when he was a commoner, now finds herself falling for him, and romance ensues. Myrna Loy is also on hand as a nymphomaniac Countess who delivers an armful of memorable zingers before everything reaches the expected happy ending. The opening sequence that people are still so enamored of consists of two lengthy songs, and several snatches of dialogue, that introduce a vast array of characters while simultaneously conveying the environment they inhabit. Mamoulian's camera journeys from the rooftops of Paris (actually a remarkable facsimile built on Paramount's backlot) to a crew of workers paving a street, then on to some shoemakers whose hammers join the symphony of construction sounds. We then see ­ and hear ­ bums sleeping in the street, a woman shaking out some bed sheets, and cars with horns that honk out another counterpoint to the building rhythm. Finally, we come to rest on Maurice, who's getting dressed for the day. But this virtuoso piece of filmmaking is only just getting started! Maurice will begin singing "The Song of Paree" while leaving his apartment, and several other characters will get introduced. Eventually, Maurice will have reason to croon Isn't it Romantic, and the song itself will travel across the city, taking on different arrangements courtesy of, among others, a platoon of marching soldiers and a gypsy violinist. Before it's over, MacDonald, Charles Butterworth, and Loy will also be introduced. This elegant sequence puts today's slash-and-burn style of storytelling to absolute shame. It's what people mean when they reference "the magic of movies"- you can only accomplish this kind of thing on film. Actually, it's a bit surprising that Mamoulian was so audacious. He made his name in the musical theater, first with an opera that was produced in Rochester, New York, then with several successful Broadway shows. But of all the theater directors who eventually ventured into movies, Mamoulian was the first to realize cinema's music-related possibilities. Mamoulian's other groundbreaking move on Love Me Tonight was to finish the script after Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart completed their songs. In this way, he was able to see to it that the tunes moved the plot along, rather than simply appearing out of nowhere, as if pasted into a storyline that could have just as easily existed without them. It worked like gangbusters, and became one of the central techniques of great Hollywood musicals. In later years, Mamoulian would bring his talents back to the stage, where he would direct such legendary musicals as Porgy and Bess and Oklahoma!. Though such diverse experts as Kurt Weill and Vincente Minnelli would call Love Me Tonight the greatest musical ever made, its production wasn't completely smooth. Mamoulian never really got along with MacDonald, who found the director to be dry and humorless. And most of the crew agreed with her. One electrician even dropped a lamp dangerously close to Mamoulian's head, and a sound man purposely allowed some audio mishaps (like a sneeze) to be recorded on the soundtrack. Mamoulian finally approached MacDonald for help, and she told him, "Rouben, we are supposed to be making a comedy, a gay picture full of laughter. But it's almost impossible in the funereal atmosphere you're creating." Mamoulian listened, and soon thereafter saw to it that a more relaxed working environment was in place. It certainly shows in the finished product. Produced and directed by: Rouben Mamoulian Screenplay: Samuel Hoffenstein, Waldemar Young, and George Marion, Jr. Songs: Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart Photography: Victor Milner Editing: Rouben Mamoulian and William Shea Art Director: Hans Dreier Sound: M.M. Paggi Cast: Maurice Chevalier (Maurice Courtelin), Jeanette MacDonald (Princess Jeanette), Charles Ruggles (Vicomte de Vareze), Charles Butterworth (Count de Savignac), C. Aubrey Smith (The Duke), Myrna Loy (Countess Valentine). BW-89m. by Paul Tatara

Critics' Corner - Love Me Tonight


Awards & Honors

Love Me Tonight was voted a place on the National Film Registry in 1990.

Critic Reviews - LOVE ME TONIGHT (1932)

"It is one of the best, if not the very best, of the Maurice Chevalier pictures -- and not the least of the cause is the brilliant direction of Rouben Mamoulian." -- Jerry Hoffman, Los Angeles Examiner.

"What a picture. First, you have Chevalier (and last, you have Chevalier, and all through this riot entertainment you have Chevalier). And adding her beauty and lovely voice, you have that delightful Jeanette MacDonald." -- Photoplay.

"A gem of a class production, and, with that aura that surrounds Chevalier, a cleanup for the run theatres...Mamoulian reveals a shrewd flair for novelty angles, notably in the fascinating opening sequence designed to sound a key motif for the gay symphony that it introduces." -- Variety.

"...Mr. Mamoulian never neglects an opportunity to conjure with the microphone or make the most of the camera." -- Mordaunt Hall, New York Times.

"The songs develop the action and characters, the dialogue is witty and rhythmic, and the entire film, with its fine score by Rodgers and Hart, is a charming, tongue-in-cheek fantasy that never descends into syrupy whimsy." -- Geoff Andrew, Time Out Film Guide.

"For street-wise punk poetics amidst the posh pompadours and fancy bodices; for a brilliantly paced scenario and score; for Maurice and Jeanette in their pluckily playful prime; for crusty, bushy-browed C. Aubrey Smith getting out of bed to sing "Mimi"; for the Mamoulian film that Mamoulian actually did pull off, spectacularly: you're gonna just love Love Me Tonight." - Peter H. Kemp, Senses of Cinema

Compiled by Frank Miller

Critics' Corner - Love Me Tonight

Awards & Honors Love Me Tonight was voted a place on the National Film Registry in 1990. Critic Reviews - LOVE ME TONIGHT (1932) "It is one of the best, if not the very best, of the Maurice Chevalier pictures -- and not the least of the cause is the brilliant direction of Rouben Mamoulian." -- Jerry Hoffman, Los Angeles Examiner. "What a picture. First, you have Chevalier (and last, you have Chevalier, and all through this riot entertainment you have Chevalier). And adding her beauty and lovely voice, you have that delightful Jeanette MacDonald." -- Photoplay. "A gem of a class production, and, with that aura that surrounds Chevalier, a cleanup for the run theatres...Mamoulian reveals a shrewd flair for novelty angles, notably in the fascinating opening sequence designed to sound a key motif for the gay symphony that it introduces." -- Variety. "...Mr. Mamoulian never neglects an opportunity to conjure with the microphone or make the most of the camera." -- Mordaunt Hall, New York Times. "The songs develop the action and characters, the dialogue is witty and rhythmic, and the entire film, with its fine score by Rodgers and Hart, is a charming, tongue-in-cheek fantasy that never descends into syrupy whimsy." -- Geoff Andrew, Time Out Film Guide. "For street-wise punk poetics amidst the posh pompadours and fancy bodices; for a brilliantly paced scenario and score; for Maurice and Jeanette in their pluckily playful prime; for crusty, bushy-browed C. Aubrey Smith getting out of bed to sing "Mimi"; for the Mamoulian film that Mamoulian actually did pull off, spectacularly: you're gonna just love Love Me Tonight." - Peter H. Kemp, Senses of Cinema Compiled by Frank Miller

Love Me Tonight on DVD


With the language of motion pictures now so indelibly fixed in our collective consciousness, it's hard to imagine that early filmmakers actually had to sit down and construct that language. D.W. Griffith may have pioneered such all-important filmmaking techniques as close-ups, tracking shots, and cross-cutting. But, outside of stationary theatrical productions, there was simply no guideline for telling a story on film through the use of music. That's why Rouben Mamoulian's Love Me Tonight (1932) - now on DVD from Kino International - is considered a pivotal moment in movie history. With this picture, Mamoulian, as much as any other director, shaped the language of movie musicals. In fact, many critics would argue that its dazzling opening sequence has never been equaled for sheer resourcefulness.

The narrative, unlike Mamoulian's technique, is simple enough. A jovial Parisian tailor named Maurice (Maurice Chevalier) is forced to approach one of his customers, the Vicomte de Vareze (Charles Ruggles), for payment of a bill. When Maurice visits the Count's estate, the Count is embarrassed to admit that he can't pay him. In an attempt to make it up to Maurice, the Count introduces the tailor to his royal friends as a Baron. Princess Jeanette (Jeanette MacDonald), who took no notice of Maurice when he was a commoner, now finds herself falling for him, and romance ensues. Myrna Loy is also on hand as a nymphomaniac Countess who delivers an armful of memorable zingers before everything reaches the expected happy ending.

The opening sequence that people are still so enamored of consists of two lengthy songs, and several snatches of dialogue, that introduce a vast array of characters while simultaneously conveying the environment they inhabit. Mamoulian's camera journeys from the rooftops of Paris (actually a remarkable facsimile built on Paramount's backlot) to a crew of workers paving a street, then on to some shoemakers whose hammers join the symphony of construction sounds. We then see ­ and hear ­ bums sleeping in the street, a woman shaking out some bed sheets, and cars with horns that honk out another counterpoint to the building rhythm. Finally, we come to rest on Maurice, who's getting dressed for the day. But this virtuoso piece of filmmaking is only just getting started!

Maurice will begin singing "The Song of Paree" while leaving his apartment, and several other characters will get introduced. Eventually, Maurice will have reason to croon Isn't it Romantic, and the song itself will travel across the city, taking on different arrangements courtesy of, among others, a platoon of marching soldiers and a gypsy violinist. Before it's over, MacDonald, Charles Butterworth, and Loy will also be introduced. This elegant sequence puts today's slash-and-burn style of storytelling to absolute shame. It's what people mean when they reference "the magic of movies"- you can only accomplish this kind of thing on film.

Actually, it's a bit surprising that Mamoulian was so audacious. He made his name in the musical theater, first with an opera that was produced in Rochester, New York, then with several successful Broadway shows. But of all the theater directors who eventually ventured into movies, Mamoulian was the first to realize cinema's music-related possibilities.

Mamoulian's other groundbreaking move on Love Me Tonight was to finish the script after Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart completed their songs. In this way, he was able to see to it that the tunes moved the plot along, rather than simply appearing out of nowhere, as if pasted into a storyline that could have just as easily existed without them. It worked like gangbusters, and became one of the central techniques of great Hollywood musicals. In later years, Mamoulian would bring his talents back to the stage, where he would direct such legendary musicals as Porgy and Bess and Oklahoma!.

Though such diverse experts as Kurt Weill and Vincente Minnelli would call Love Me Tonight the greatest musical ever made, its production wasn't completely smooth. Mamoulian never really got along with MacDonald, who found the director to be dry and humorless. And most of the crew agreed with her. One electrician even dropped a lamp dangerously close to Mamoulian's head, and a sound man purposely allowed some audio mishaps (like a sneeze) to be recorded on the soundtrack.

Mamoulian finally approached MacDonald for help, and she told him, "Rouben, we are supposed to be making a comedy, a gay picture full of laughter. But it's almost impossible in the funereal atmosphere you're creating." Mamoulian listened, and soon thereafter saw to it that a more relaxed working environment was in place. It certainly shows in the finished product.

Kino has done an excellent job of bringing this landmark musical to DVD. The transfer is on a par with anything Criterion could render from this early period in sound cinema. Yes, there is some slight background audio noise in the non-musical passages (not uncommon for an early thirties film) and some minor speckling over the opening credits. But the black and white cinematography is sparkling with excellent contrast levels and for a change, the extras are really worthwhile and not empty filler. They include an informative commentary by Miles Kreuger (President of the Institute of the American Musical - did you know there was one?), two musical shorts (one of Chevalier singing his signature song, "Louise," and one of MacDonald warbling "Love Me Tonight" from a Hollywood on Parade newsreel), and most interestingly, documents of Pre-Code censorship issues and excerpts of deleted scenes. Overall, a wonderful addition to any DVD film library.

For more information about Love Me Tonight, visit Kino International. To order Love Me Tonight, go to TCM Shopping.

by Paul Tatara

Love Me Tonight on DVD

With the language of motion pictures now so indelibly fixed in our collective consciousness, it's hard to imagine that early filmmakers actually had to sit down and construct that language. D.W. Griffith may have pioneered such all-important filmmaking techniques as close-ups, tracking shots, and cross-cutting. But, outside of stationary theatrical productions, there was simply no guideline for telling a story on film through the use of music. That's why Rouben Mamoulian's Love Me Tonight (1932) - now on DVD from Kino International - is considered a pivotal moment in movie history. With this picture, Mamoulian, as much as any other director, shaped the language of movie musicals. In fact, many critics would argue that its dazzling opening sequence has never been equaled for sheer resourcefulness. The narrative, unlike Mamoulian's technique, is simple enough. A jovial Parisian tailor named Maurice (Maurice Chevalier) is forced to approach one of his customers, the Vicomte de Vareze (Charles Ruggles), for payment of a bill. When Maurice visits the Count's estate, the Count is embarrassed to admit that he can't pay him. In an attempt to make it up to Maurice, the Count introduces the tailor to his royal friends as a Baron. Princess Jeanette (Jeanette MacDonald), who took no notice of Maurice when he was a commoner, now finds herself falling for him, and romance ensues. Myrna Loy is also on hand as a nymphomaniac Countess who delivers an armful of memorable zingers before everything reaches the expected happy ending. The opening sequence that people are still so enamored of consists of two lengthy songs, and several snatches of dialogue, that introduce a vast array of characters while simultaneously conveying the environment they inhabit. Mamoulian's camera journeys from the rooftops of Paris (actually a remarkable facsimile built on Paramount's backlot) to a crew of workers paving a street, then on to some shoemakers whose hammers join the symphony of construction sounds. We then see ­ and hear ­ bums sleeping in the street, a woman shaking out some bed sheets, and cars with horns that honk out another counterpoint to the building rhythm. Finally, we come to rest on Maurice, who's getting dressed for the day. But this virtuoso piece of filmmaking is only just getting started! Maurice will begin singing "The Song of Paree" while leaving his apartment, and several other characters will get introduced. Eventually, Maurice will have reason to croon Isn't it Romantic, and the song itself will travel across the city, taking on different arrangements courtesy of, among others, a platoon of marching soldiers and a gypsy violinist. Before it's over, MacDonald, Charles Butterworth, and Loy will also be introduced. This elegant sequence puts today's slash-and-burn style of storytelling to absolute shame. It's what people mean when they reference "the magic of movies"- you can only accomplish this kind of thing on film. Actually, it's a bit surprising that Mamoulian was so audacious. He made his name in the musical theater, first with an opera that was produced in Rochester, New York, then with several successful Broadway shows. But of all the theater directors who eventually ventured into movies, Mamoulian was the first to realize cinema's music-related possibilities. Mamoulian's other groundbreaking move on Love Me Tonight was to finish the script after Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart completed their songs. In this way, he was able to see to it that the tunes moved the plot along, rather than simply appearing out of nowhere, as if pasted into a storyline that could have just as easily existed without them. It worked like gangbusters, and became one of the central techniques of great Hollywood musicals. In later years, Mamoulian would bring his talents back to the stage, where he would direct such legendary musicals as Porgy and Bess and Oklahoma!. Though such diverse experts as Kurt Weill and Vincente Minnelli would call Love Me Tonight the greatest musical ever made, its production wasn't completely smooth. Mamoulian never really got along with MacDonald, who found the director to be dry and humorless. And most of the crew agreed with her. One electrician even dropped a lamp dangerously close to Mamoulian's head, and a sound man purposely allowed some audio mishaps (like a sneeze) to be recorded on the soundtrack. Mamoulian finally approached MacDonald for help, and she told him, "Rouben, we are supposed to be making a comedy, a gay picture full of laughter. But it's almost impossible in the funereal atmosphere you're creating." Mamoulian listened, and soon thereafter saw to it that a more relaxed working environment was in place. It certainly shows in the finished product. Kino has done an excellent job of bringing this landmark musical to DVD. The transfer is on a par with anything Criterion could render from this early period in sound cinema. Yes, there is some slight background audio noise in the non-musical passages (not uncommon for an early thirties film) and some minor speckling over the opening credits. But the black and white cinematography is sparkling with excellent contrast levels and for a change, the extras are really worthwhile and not empty filler. They include an informative commentary by Miles Kreuger (President of the Institute of the American Musical - did you know there was one?), two musical shorts (one of Chevalier singing his signature song, "Louise," and one of MacDonald warbling "Love Me Tonight" from a Hollywood on Parade newsreel), and most interestingly, documents of Pre-Code censorship issues and excerpts of deleted scenes. Overall, a wonderful addition to any DVD film library. For more information about Love Me Tonight, visit Kino International. To order Love Me Tonight, go to TCM Shopping. by Paul Tatara

Quotes

I fell flat on my flute.
- Count de Savignac
Do you ever think of anything but men?
- Princess Jeanette
Yes, schoolboys.
- Countess Valentine
You're not wasting away, you're just wasted.
- Dr. Armand de Fontinac
A peach must be eaten, a drum must be beaten, and a woman needs something like that.
- Dr. Armand de Fontinac

Trivia

This film was selected to the National Film Registry, Libary of Congress, in 1990.

Notes

MPAA/PCA files at the AMPAS Library reveal that while most of the songs in the film were approved prior to release, the Hays Office objected to the suggestive nature of the song, "A Woman Needs Something Like That," although it was left in the film. Jesse Lasky, Jr. responded in a letter to the MPPDA's concern about the line "Must we sleep tonight all alone?" in the song "Love Me Tonight," by noting that the line had been changed to "Let's drink deep tonight all alone." Concern that French Royalists might take offense to the film prompted the Hays Office to give a copy of the script to the Los Angeles French consul, Henri Didot. Based on Didot's comments, it was determined that only the scene in which the princess strikes a servant should be deleted. In addition, Didot maintained that as long as the duke and princess were not implied to have royal blood, the film should not give offense. The film was rejected in Czechoslovakia, approved without eliminations in Quebec, New York and Kansas, and approved with eliminations in Australia, Britain, Chicago, Ontario, British Columbia, Ohio, Alberta, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
       Among scenes and dialogue commonly deleted by local censors were references to the "virgin spring"; the scene of the Princess's examination by the physician; and Maurice taking measurements of the princess. In 1937, letters from Joseph I. Breen of the AMPP to Paramount indicate that Breen advised against the re-issue of the film because he felt that the severe editing required to pass the censors would ruin the film. In a 1949 letter, Breen approved a re-release with the following deletions: Any reference to "virgin springs"; the song "A Woman Needs Something Like That"; and the scene of Myrna Loy in a "transparent nightgown." According to a memo in the file, the four-reel re-release was unsuccessful. A news item in Film Daily noted that Robert Coogan was slated for a role in the film.
       According to modern sources, the scenes of Myrna Loy singing "Mimi" and "A Woman Needs Something Like That" were retained for European release. The song "The Man for Me" was apparently dropped prior to the picture's general release. Modern sources include the following additional credits: Sound recording, M. M. Paggi; Film editor, Rouben Mamoulian; and Film cutter, William Shea. Modern sources add the following to the cast: George "Gabby" Hayes (Grocer) and George Humbert (Chef). In 1982, the Director's Guild honored Rouben Mamoulian on the fiftieth anniversary of Love Me Tonight's premiere. Among the notable aspects of the film as noted by modern critics is the use of the zoom shot in the opening sequence. Los Angeles Times noted in a 1982 article the film's pioneering integration of songs and dramatic action. The same article featured an interview with Mamoulian in which he stated that he made this, his favorite film, at the request of Adolph Zukor, and initially developed the film with a music score, not a script. The song "Isn't It Romantic?" later became the title song for a 1948 Paramount release featuring Veronica Lake and Patric Knowles.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1932

Released in United States July 1932

Released in United States March 1977

Selected in 1990 for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

Released in United States July 1932 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (UCLA Archives Tribute: The Films of 1932) July 5-20, 1984.)

Released in United States March 1977 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (The Mighty Musical Movie Marathon) March 9-27, 1977.)

Released in United States 1932