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 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.
This week’s musical:
Love Me Forever (1935) – Musical #720
Grace Moore, Leo Carrillo, Robert Allen, Spring Byington, Michael Bartlett, Luis Alberni, Douglass Dumbrille, Thurston Hall, Olin Howland (uncredited), Arthur Hoyt (uncredited),
Margaret Howard (Moore) comes from a wealthy family, who have lost everything. Opera loving hood Steve Corelli (Carrillo) hears Margaret sing and wants to make her a great opera star. Steve makes Margaret a great singing star, while falling in love with her; knowing she doesn’t reciprocate the feeling.
• First feature film of Michael Bartlett
• Working title “On Wings of Song”
• Thurston Hall’s character was inspired by Giulio Gatti-Casazza, who managed the New York Metropolitan Opera House from 1908 to 1935.
• John P. Livadary was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Sound, Recording. Douglas Shearer won for “Naughty Marietta.”
• Grace Moore auditioning in the night club
• The lavish nightclub opera performance
• “Quartet” from the opera “Rigoletto” performed by Grace Moore and the chorus
• “Love Me Forever” performed by Grace Moore
• “Musetta’s Street Song” performed by Grace Moore
• “Tiny Hands” performed by Grace Moore
• “Il bacio” performed by Grace Moore
Mixed with tragedy, humor and beautiful music, “Love Me Forever” stands apart from some other musicals of this era.
In the film, Margaret (Moore) is a penniless heiress. At a home auction of her belongings, she meets music loving gangster, Steve Corelli (Carrillo) who is determined to make Margaret a singing success. As he works with her, Margaret also falls in love with her.
While this film may seem like a run of the mill 1930s opera musical, it really has some interesting aspects.
For starters, it was one of nine films made by actress, opera singer Grace Moore. Hailing from Tennessee, Moore (and later Jeanette MacDonald), brought opera to moviegoers, who originally didn’t have the opportunity to see or hear opera singers outside of stage performances. An American, she also differed from the standard vision of opera singer.
Since Moore isn’t well-known by film audiences today — especially because her film career was brief and she died in a plane crash in 1947 — this provides an interesting time capsule of her career. Her opera performances are stunning, especially “Il Baccio” and the selections from “La Boheme.”
It’s interesting that she wasn’t in more films, because I do believe she has “it” — outside of a stunning voice. Comedic timing and charm. Turner Classic Movies Ben Mankiewicz even said that her films have “slipped through the cracks” for many movie lovers.
This film is also very interesting because it provides Leo Carillo a leading man role. Carillo often played supporting character roles, and here he is given the opportunity to shine. He’s really excellent and also heartbreaking. In the film, he’s eating his heart out for a woman he knows will never return his love.
There are some incredibly lavish costumes and opera numbers in this film, that make this a delight to watch (unless perhaps, you don’t enjoy opera music).
While the last half of the film is particularly heartbreaking, the beginning starts with fun and humor. I love how the film begins with singing and winter sports. The scene where Margaret’s items are being auctioned is humorous, as Steve’s pal is bidding for him but also trying to keep the bid low. I also enjoyed the scene when Margaret is trying to sing a swing song in a nightclub, when she’s really better suited for opera.
Some reviews of the time depict a tragic ending, which makes me wonder if the film was edited after its initial release.
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