The Eclipse Viewer Episode 12: Lubitsch Musicals

EV 12David and I are back with another episode of The Eclipse Viewer, the podcast dedicated to the Criterion Collection’s Eclipse Series of DVDs.

In this episode, we talk about Eclipse Series 8: Lubitsch Musicals. Ernst Lubitsch is a titan of early cinema. His career started in Germany in the silent era, and he eventually moved to the United States to specialize the Hollywood comedy. Several of his first sound films were musicals, and we had the pleasure of viewing four of them in this set.

The first, The Love Parade (1929), stars Maurice Chevalier as a philandering diplomat and Jeanette MacDonald as his Queen who eventually marries him. No one will listen to him, though, as the Queen has all power in state and in the home.

Monte Carlo (1930) is the next feature and it again stars Jeanette MacDonald as a runaway bride. She escapes — for the umpteenth time — her wedding to an old Duke and finds herself in Monte Carlo where she hopes to win enough money to avoid marriage altogether. There she meets another rich man, but she won’t give him the time of day. So he poses as her hairdresser until he can charm her into submission.

The third feature is The Smiling Lieutenant (1931). Maurice Chevalier returns as the titular character who falls happily in love with Claudette Colbert, a forward-thinking leader of an all-woman orchestra. One day, he is presenting arms to passing royalty when he tries to wink at Colbert across the way. This innocent gesture causes havoc when the passing Princess (Miriam Hopkins) mistakenly believes he was winking at her.

The fourth and last feature in this set is One Hour with You (1932), which brings back together Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald. They play, strangely for this set, the happily married couple. Their marriage is put to the test when Genevieve Tobin comes along and tries to seduce Chevalier.

Please find the podcast, the shownotes, and plenty of links over at CriterionCast here.

Lubitsch Set

In the next episode of The Eclipse Viewer, David and I are planning to discuss Eclipse Series 1: Early Bergman, which contains five of Ingmar Bergman’s earliest films: Torment (1944; dir. by Alf Sjöberg), Crisis (1946), Port of Call (1948), Thirst (1949), and To Joy (1949).

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