Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Love Parade (1929)

Directed by: Ernst Lubistch

Starring: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Lupino Lane, and Lillian Roth

Plot: A womanizing diplomat returns home and settles down with the queen of his country.

Thoughts: Overall, this film was a lot of fun. I was expecting a fairly dry musical about royalty and such only to be pleasantly surprised to see a fairly brilliant comedy with some very delightfully catchy songs. That's not to say it doesn't have its flaws, like MacDonald's operatic solos and the last 15 minutes where we veer into rather sexist territory. Still, this film is worth a look if only for the musical number about a couple describing how they'd beat the crap out of each other.

The Love Parade is based on the play, The Prince Consort, by Jules Chancel and Leon Xanrof. The film is styled like a play, only with a much bigger scope. The sets are quite elaborate, not to mention huge, and a metric ton of extras are present (mostly as soldiers). While many a critic claims The Broadway Melody as the first musical, I'm with the side that thinks that honor goes to The Love Parade. The songs are actually part of the story whereas that was only done once in The Broadway Melody.

The level of effort in this film was so apparent, that it garnered an unprecedented six Award nominations but sadly, won none. Aside from Best Picture, The Love Parade was also nominated for:
  • Best Actor for Maurice Chevalier's amazing performance as Count Alfred Renard;
  • Best Art Direction for Hans Dreier's epic sets;
  • Best Cinematography for Victor Milner's capable eye;
  • Best Director; and
  • Best Sound, Recording for Franklin Hansen's relatively polished (at the time) soundtrack.

1 comment: