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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Smiling Lieutenant (1931)

In Vienna, a Lieutenant (Maurice Chevalier) becomes enamored of a violinist (Claudette Colbert) in an all girl orchestra. But trouble pops up in the form of the Princess (Miriam Hopkins) of a small country who feels the Lieutenant has slighted her but it's all a misunderstanding. Based on the operetta EIN WALZERTRAUM by Oscar Straus by way of the Hans Muller Einigen novel NUX DER PRINZGEMAHL, Ernst Lubitsch's Oscar nominated (best picture) musical is a real charmer!  Both the screenplay and the song lyrics are witty and naughty and the three leading players perform with zeal. This is a pre-code film and boy, does it get away with a lot. Colbert enters Chevalier's apartment then a blackout then they're having breakfast after having spent the night together. I'm not a fan of Chevalier's overly Gallic charms but he's very tolerable here. Colbert and Hopkins aren't known for their singing abilities but they put over the delightful Jazz Up Your Lingerie number with gusto. With Charles Ruggles and George Barbier.  

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