Comedy Monday: Love Me Tonight (1932)

23 05 2011

For the second time I am doing an older musical on Monday, but that is where the similarities between “Love Me Tonight” and “Gold Diggers of 1933” end. This week we follow the upbeat Parisian tailor Maurice Courtelin, played by Maurice Chevalier. He has recently opened a shop in a neighborhood which some has had trouble keeping businesses afloat. Of course that is of no concern for our hero since he has the business of the Viscount (Charles Ruggles), the finest dressed man in town. The Viscount racks up quite the debt but before he can pay it his uncle, the Duke (C. Aubrey Smith), grounds him within the chateau. Maurice, in need of the money, is forced to go to him and the Viscount give his the disguise of being a baron so Maurice can stay there while he conjures up the money he owes. Maurice ends up falling for the Princess (Jeanette MacDonald) during his stay, but will their love be able to survive when all the cards are laid out.

“A peach must be eaten, a drum must be beaten, and a woman needs something like that. “

Last week “Gold Diggers of 1933” exceeded all expectations in the musical department and the story was a bit of a mess, this week it is the exact opposite. The story is fine, charming even, and it also says alot about this film when you can identify several story mechanics still in place in today’s romantic comedies. Although it does seem a little tired for today’s standards credit must be given where credit is due. The movie is still funny by today’s standards, although most of the jokes are hit or miss and the same can be said of the musical numbers. They fit seamlessly into scenes and a number of them are quite catchy, the only complaint I would have is that many of them revolve clever wordplay which, as someone looking back in retrospect, seems used and somewhat predictable. There are well documented issues that “Love Me Tonight” had with the censors due to its racy topics. Today it all seems fairly tame, but it is also a very refreshing movie to watch from that time period since it did decide to push boundaries.

Maurice Chevalier is truly the driving force of this movie. He is energetic, charismatic, and is not only the life of the film but he keeps the movie going at a tremendous pace. Although I think much of the movie is hit or miss, his performance along with what works, makes it still a very enjoyable movie to watch as well as an extremely interesting look at how little the romantic comedy genre has changed.

Score 78/100

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