Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Casino Night

Monte Carlo: What's not to love? It's a frothy love story directed by Ernst Lubitsch in 1930. Well, for one thing, it stars Jeanette MacDonald. At least her leading man isn't Nelson Eddy, it's Jack Buchanan. So, let's just say I'm not a fan of the stars. But I do love the Lubitsch touch.

MacDonald has run out on her wedding to some Duke. She heads to Monte Carlo with a little cash and a system at roulette. Buchanan falls in love with her from afar as she gambles away her last franc. To get close to her, he poses as a hairdresser and moves in with her as part of the staff.

We get some not-too-bad songs, and some stinkers. We get MacDonald swanning around in her underwear. We get some lovely Art Deco sets and a romance that is almost believable. If Buchanan wasn't so funny looking...

The style is a bit old-fashioned - it's early in the talkie era and you can see they are still figuring some of this stuff out. So I would not call this first-rate Lubitsch: the earlier Love Parade or later One Hour with You are superior (maybe it's Maurice Chevalier?). But as a frothy love story? Enjoy.

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