My Lips Betray
Cast & Crew
In the kingdom of Ruthania, as Lili Wieler nervously dresses for a job singing at a cafe, which she has never done before, she is enthralled by a radio ad touting the luxurious features of the huge Bing-Bang town car, which has been sold to the king. Her wisecracking landlady, Mama Watcheck, to whom she owes rent money, mildly rebukes her for placing love above financial security as she complains that Lili has refused the entreaties of a butcher and a baron. As the king's chauffeur Stigmat drives to the Volk's Garden, Lili struggles through a song for which she was unprepared. Her song is disrupted and Weininger, the owner, fires her. Stigmat, who takes a liking to Lili, implies that she is the king's favorite singer and gives her a ride home. Rumors quickly spread about a romance between Lili and the king, and the next day, King Rupert, who prefers composing love songs to being a monarch, learns of the rumors. The country is faced with a financial crisis, and although Rupert hopes that an expedition of geologists seeking to find oil in the plains of Malu will succeed, he reluctantly agrees to marry Princess Isabella of Moravia to balance the budget should the expedition fail. When Weininger brings gifts to convince Lili to come back to his cafe, Mama Watcheck, having heard the rumors, acts as her manager and calls the police to locate Lili, who is searching for work. The police escort her to the Volk's Garden, where she discovers that everyone thinks she is the king's mistress. Mama Watcheck talks her into singing again, and she is a big success. Afterwards, Rupert comes into her dressing room through a window, and after introducing himself as Captain von Linden, the man who wrote the song she just sang, he teaches her a new song. He flirts with her, calling the king a dull fellow with no flair, but although she is attracted, she resists him. However, after Rupert steals a kiss, he says he knows she loves him because her lips betray her. At night as she prepares for bed, Rupert again enters her room through her window and encourages her to be unfaithful to the king. Although she is falling in love with him, she tricks him into leaving and then locks him out. The next day, Rupert agrees to marry the princess to save the country, but orders Stigmat to bring Lili to the palace. As a crowd awaits the king's announcement that he has balanced the budget, Lili is taken to the king's bedroom, and when Rupert enters, she hides under the bed. He then finds her, and Lili, frightened and still unaware of his real identity, hugs him and confesses that she has never even seen the king. Rupert finally reveals that he is the king and says that he loves her and that he is willing to give up everything for her. She does not believe him, and they wrestle on the floor before he makes her say "uncle," whereupon he is able to kiss her. The Queen Mother interrupts them to report that because of the rumors, the princess has refused to marry Rupert and has run off to Paris with a tango dancer. Just then a telegram arrives stating that oil in great quantites has been found in Malu. Rupert, with Lili by his side, reads the message to the people and introduces Lili as the countess of Malu, his bride-to-be.
S. N. Behrman
R. L. Hough
W. W. Lindsay Jr.
H. C. Smith
The play was also known in its German translation as Der Komet, and it opened in New York on October 23, 1930 under the title His Majesty's Car, as adapted by Fanny and Frederic Hatton. The New York production starred Miriam Hopkins. His Majesty's Car was also the working title of this film. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, the screenplay was based on an English translation of the German version of the play by Ernest Fisch, who was employed by the studio, rather than the English adaptation by the Hattons. According to reviews, this film was the first of Lilian Harvey's American-made pictures, but it was shelved pending the release of My Weakness (see below), which was thought to be a stronger vehicle. Variety compared this film to the 1931 German film Der Kongress Tanzt, also starring Lilian Harvey, which was directed by Erik Charell and produced by Erich Pommer for Ufa and released in the U.S. in 1932 under the title Congress Dances. According to Variety, My Lips Betray "contains most of the elements of Congress Dances...foreign directorial technique, symbolic motivation, cockeyed camera angles, grotesque facial close-ups, etc."
In the film's first scene, a line in the radio ad song about the car's features reads, "a little television screen reveals your favorite star." When Lili rides in the king's car, she switches on the television, and sees a portion of a Mickey Mouse cartoon. The clip was from a cartoon entitled Ye Olden Days, produced in 1933 by Walt Disney Productions, Ltd., but the soundtrack has been changed to have Mickey sing "I'll Build a Nest," which is a different song than the one he sang in the original cartoon. According to information in the legal records, Disney provided the clip, which consisted of ten feet of film, for no charge, with the agreement that Fox would have the right to use it for a period of seven years. Disney sent to Fox several films from which Fox choose the one used. According to a Film Daily news item, Henrietta Crosman was originally cast for a role in this film. Twentieth Century-Fox released a film based on the same source in 1937 entitled Thin Ice, which starred Sonja Henie and Tyrone Power and was directed by Sidney Lanfield (see below).