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With: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Charlie Ruggles, Charles Butterworth, Myrna Loy, C. Aubrey Smith, Elizabeth Patterson, Ethel Griffies, Blanche Friderici, Joseph Cawthorn, Robert Greig, Bert Roach, George 'Gabby' Hayes
Written by: Samuel Hoffenstein, George Marion Jr., Waldemar Young
Directed by: Rouben Mamoulian
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 104
Date: 08/13/1932

Love Me Tonight (1932)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Tailor Court

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This delightful, inventive pre-code screwball musical feels like something that Ernst Lubitsch should have done, given that it uses his usual cast of players, and glides with a effortless lightness and a cleverness usually not associated with director Rouben Mamoulian (Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Queen Christina). But Mamoulian's film this is, and it's a great one, featuring songs by Rodgers and Hart. You've never seen a number like "Isn't It Romantic?" begun casually by tailor Maurice (Maurice Chevalier) in his shop, carried out into the street by a happy customer, picked up by a cab driver, jotted down by a songwriter, who gleans lyrics from a group of singing soldiers on a train, etc.

The mistaken identity plot has the tailor making dozens of suits for Vicomte Gilbert de Var├Ęze (Charlie Ruggles), expecting a huge payday. But the Vicomte has no money, so Maurice goes to the castle to collect in person. On the way there, he falls in love with Princesse Jeanette (Jeanette MacDonald), and then is introduced as a Baron and invited to stay. Hoping to woo the princess, he agrees. He must endure a deer hunt on a violent horse called "Solitude" (he hilariously rescues the deer instead and brings it inside). He also tips his hand by tailoring the princess's riding outfit (he can't help himself). Of course, there's a bit of a "you lied to me" blowout, but all is well by the end. C. Aubrey Smith plays the father, the Duke, Charles Butterworth is a count who inadequately pursues the princess, and the great Myrna Loy is at her sexiest as the bored countess daughter who longs for either a man or at least for something interesting to happen. She gets her wish.

I first saw Love Me Tonight on a Kino Lorber DVD many years ago, and in 2020 they have released a newly polished Blu-ray that looks and sounds great. It includes a commentary track by film historian Miles Kreuger, vintage clips of Maurice Chevalier singing "Louise" and Jeanette MacDonald singing "Love Me Tonight," screenplay excerpts of deleted scenes, production documents and censorship records, and trailers. There are also optional English subtitles.

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