Cameron McCarthy
Love Me Tonight
Paramount (1932)
Sat, Aug 11, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Sheffer Recital Hall, The Shedd Institute
Often cited as one of the finest musicals of the 1930s (a few admirers have gone so far as to call it the best movie musical ever made), this Maurice Chevalier vehicle begins with a remarkable sequence in which the city of Paris greets the dawn, and the noises of the city slowly cohere into a song. Tailor Maurice Courtelin (Chevalier) is opening his shop when he's approached by the Viscount de Varses (Charlie Ruggles), a titled ne'er-do-well who lost his clothing in the midst of a romantic indiscretion the night before. Maurice loans the Viscount a suit of clothes and some money; It isn't until later that the tailor learns that the Viscount is penniless and infamous for never paying his debts. Maurice begins singing Isn't It Romantic, causing his friend Emil (Bert Roach) to start humming the tune on his way out the door; the song is then picked up by a taxi driver and eventually passed along to the estate of Princess Jeanette (Jeanette MacDonald), where romance is not proving to be a pleasant thing. Maurice ultimately takes a shine to her, except that her family would prefer that she marry within her royal station...which reduces her romantic prospects to two men — one is 70 and the other 13. However, the royals at the chateau are impressed enough with Maurice's charm (and finely tailored clothes) that they assume he must be an associate of the Viscount. Which, of course, he is in a sense, but can he get a romance rolling with the Princess before everyone involved discovers that he's a commoner? Love Me Tonight was directed by Rouben Mamoulian, who had previously made the pioneering musical Applause. Based on a play by Paul Armont and Leopold Marchand, the musical also featured a number of soon-to-be-classic songs by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.-- Mark Deming, All Movie Guide [96 min.]
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Sheffer Recital Hall
The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts
285 E Broadway
Eugene, Oregon
541-434-7000

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