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re: Try "Love Me Tonight" - it's incredibly witty, funny, tuneful and delightful nm
Last Edit: PlayWiz 02:27 pm EDT 08/25/21
Posted by: PlayWiz 02:11 pm EDT 08/25/21
In reply to: re: Try "Love Me Tonight" - it's incredibly witty, funny, tuneful and delightful nm - WaymanWong 12:45 pm EDT 08/25/21

Interesting story on how Chevalier learned English. He was a prisoner of war in a German POW camp for 2 years during WWI and he and an American (or was it an Englishman?) taught each other their languages while there. It helped Chevalier's international career immensely when he was able to come to Hollywood in the early sound period. I mainly had difficulty with a couple of words here and there, and frankly it wasn't that much worse than a native English speaker with some problems in diction and enunciation. It's also early sound recording -- at one point, during the "I'm An Apache" number, after Chevalier mimes being guillotined and bends forward like he lost his head (in the shadow), he actually goes off mic for a second or two and you can hear his voice faintly before he stands upright and his voice regains full strength again.

Another critic who posts reviews on this site when there's theatre to be reviewed, also told me that he considers "Love Me Tonight" the greatest of all movie musicals. I first saw it in revival houses and later in some group gatherings, and most people were enchanted with how well put together it is in terms of use of sound, first use of zoom camera, use of slow and fast motion, the incredible score, the wonderful performances, how naughty some of it is (Man-hungry Valentine/Myrna Loy's great exchange with Charlie Ruggles when Jeanette McDonald collapses -- Ruggles: "Valentine, could you go for a doctorl?" Valentine (Loy): "Sure. Bring him right in !", and many other virtues. It's really funny, too! Plus it's just so fresh for something made in 1932. Only thing really missing from the film is anything in the way of dancing, other than some movement here and there. Even a mistake clearly, but used in the film, when C. Aubrey Smith's armor covering his head repeatedly closing during a line and Charlie Ruggles and Myrna Loy laugh and deal with it as if it were a stage performance and just go on, is wonderful!

The garden scene with Chevalier kissing McDonald to revive her (and get slapped twice) to music, the rhyming dialogue seguing into song in the scene with Jeanette and the doctor, musically ticking when he takes her heartbeats during an examination, with her worried about her wasting away and his exit line: "You're not wasting away, you're just wastes!" are just wonderful. The film really is romantic -- "Whoever you are, whatever you are, wherever you are -- I love you!". Plus the title tune, sung in a voiceover by McDonald and Chevalier as they are sleeping in separate beds, but superimposed next to each other, making it appear they are together, are just superb innovations. Plus the 3 older ladies -- sometimes functioning either as the Fates or 3 benevolent witches out of "MacBeth" stirring a love potion, add a fairy tale and mystical feeling to the film as well, as they are the ones who close the film, too.
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