Musical Monday: “Monte Carlo” (1930)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

monte carloThis week’s musical:
Monte Carlo” (1930) –Musical #276

Studio:
Paramount Pictures

Director:
Ernst Lubitsch

Starring:
Jeanette MacDonald, Jack Buchanan, Zasu Pitts

Plot:
Countess Helene (MacDonald) flees minutes before her wedding and heads to Monte Carlo. The penniless countess hopes to win money at the Roulette wheel or find a wealthy man. Count Rudolph (Buchanan) takes a liking to Helene and gets closer to her by posing as the hairdresser that she hires. She falls in love with him but doesn’t want to marry what she thinks is a penniless man.

Trivia:
-Ernst Lubitsch had a crush on Jeanette MacDonald and expressed this to her. She thought he was joking and he was angry by her response, straining their relationship, according to Turner Classic Movies Host Ben Mankiewicz.
-Director Ernst Lubitsch’s second sound film.
-Actor Jack Buchanan’s American film debut. His next American film was “The Band Wagon” in 1953.

Jack Buchanan poses as a hairdresser to get closer to Jeannette MacDonald.

Jack Buchanan poses as a hairdresser to get closer to Jeannette MacDonald.

Notable Songs:
-Many of the songs don’t stick with you during the film. However “Beyond the Blue Horizon” sung by Jeanette MacDonald is the best song in the film.

My Review:
Lubitsch musicals are different from other musicals. Rather than having a show stopping tune, the songs usually add to the plot and sometimes is like sing-song talking.
Though I love Ernst Lubitsch and actress Jeanette MacDonald, I did not love this film. Jack Buchanan is wonderful in “The Band Wagon” (1953) but lackluster in this film. In most of the MacDonald-Lubitsch teamings, Maurice Chevalier was MacDonald’s leading man. Buchanan just didn’t fit as a romantic leading man.
I also felt like the movie dragged a bit. Though I struggled to get through this one, I will suggest it if you enjoy Lubitsch films. The shots are beautiful and all have “the Lubitsch touch.”

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