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  • THE LOVE PARADE (Paramount, 1929) directed by Ernst Lubitsch, stars Maurice Chevalier in his second Hollywood musical (the first being 1929s "Innocents of Paris") and his first of four opposite Jeanette MacDonald in her screen debut. Jeanette plays Queen Louise of the Kingdom of Sylvania who immediately falls in love with Count Alfred Renard, a popular ladies' man, and soon marries this Parisian emissary in order to negotiate a loan from foreign power. After they wed, Alfred soon finds married life isn't what he has hoped, having to take orders from his wife as well as being second fiddle around the kingdom.

    In spite of its age, THE LOVE PARADE is still quite entertaining early sound musical, consisted mostly of songs and limited dancing. With score composed by Victor Schewrtzinger and Clifford Grey, songs include, "Oo-La-La-La-La" (sung by Lupino Lane); "Paris, Stay the Same" (sung by Maurice Chevalier); "Dream Lover" (sung by Jeanette MacDonald/ ladies-in-waiting); "Anything to Please the Queen" and "My Love Parade" both sung by Chevalier and MacDonald); "Dream Lover" (reprise by MacDonald); "Let's Be Common" (sung by Lupino Lane and Lillian Roth); "The March of the Grenadiers" (sung by MacDonald); "Nobody's Using It Now" (sung by Chevalier); "The Queen is Always Right" (recited by Roth and Lane/ staff); "Dream Lover" (reprise by MacDonald); "March of the Grenadiers" (reprise by soldiers); and "My Love Parade" (reprised by MacDonald and Chevalier).

    Running ten minutes shy of two hours, THE LOVE PARADE was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Picture, with Chevalier's nomination for Best Actor, but no wins. Other members of the cast consist of Eugene Palette, Edgar Norton, Ethel Griffies and Lionel Bellmore. Look fast for silent comic Ben Turpin in a funny bit; and future film stars as Virginia Bruce as the lady-in-waiting, and Jean Harlow as one of the patrons in the ballet theater.

    Formerly presented on the American Movie Classics cable channel (January 1989-September 1996), AMC's host, Bob Dorian, noted an interesting piece of trivia that THE LOVE PARADE was the only movie in which Jeanette MacDonald smoked a cigarette on screen. Finally distributed to DVD in 2009, THE LOVE PARADE returned to cable television broadcasting once again, being Turner Classic Movies where it premiered February 3, 2010, with added bonus of two minute exit music in its fadeout.

    Full of comedy wit and unexpected surprises in the Ernst Lubitch tradition, THE LOVE PARADE is still worthy film study and entertainment value after all these years. (***)
  • Domestic difficulties between the strong-willed Queen of Sylvania and her stubborn Consort may cause them both to miss THE LOVE PARADE.

    Director Ernst Lubitsch spread his special brand of sophisticated naughtiness in this visually impressive & engaging early talkie musical. Depending much on the intelligence of the viewer, the film serves up unexpected bons mons of wit (e.g. the dog barking his farewells to the pooches of Paris) which never fail to enchant. Lubitsch would contribute a series of delightful little comedies over the next several years, making the title of this confection pertinent in more ways than one.

    Maurice Chevalier practically oozes Gaelic charm in a wonderfully hammy, ingratiating performance. His French charisma dominates the screen; he embraces his songs rather than just singing them. His immense joie de vivre & exceptional talent was perfectly attuned to the sound motion picture. In her film debut, the lovely Jeanette MacDonald proves a charming partner to Chevalier. Imperious or coquettish by turns, she beguiles the viewer as well as Maurice--her celebrated voice (when intelligible) put to good use in the seduction.

    British physical comedian Lupino Lane is a winner as Chevalier's highly energetic little valet; lanky Lillian Roth, as a palace maid, joins him for some humorous knockabout songs. Lionel Belmore & Eugene Palette bring appropriately hefty gravitas to their roles as government ministers. Diminutive Edgar Norton appears as an unflappable majordomo.

    Movie mavens will recognize silent screen comic Ben Turpin as a cross-eyed lackey, Russ Powell as the Afghan Ambassador and young Jean Harlow as one of a group of women applauding Chevalier at the theatre, all uncredited.
  • It was really the film that established Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald as a musical comedy team - the first one of the American talkie period. They would make four films in the end (THE LOVE PARADE, ONE HOUR WITH YOU, LOVE ME TONIGHT, and THE MERRY WIDOW). Four first rate early musicals... and they did not like each other! Jeanette rebuffed Chevalier's attempts at a closer relationship (she only liked Gene Raymond, whom she later married). He considered her a prude and hypocrite as a result. So, despite their stunning screen chemistry and string of successes their partnership faded. Nelson Eddy was waiting in the wings for her to find the proper partner.

    Chevalier is a Count who has been returned from a diplomatic post for a sexual scandal. The country is ruled by Queen Jeanette, and when she meets the charming Maurice she falls for him. They marry, but he finds that (under the guidance of her Prime Minister - Lionel Belmore - and his cabinet) she puts him aside on matters of ruling the state. Chevalier, normally the aggressor in sexual matters and in putting his own ideas out, does not like the self-image of being the boy-toy husband of the ruler of his native country. His idea would be more like that of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband, who became her chief adviser on political matters after their marriage. Here, however, while everyone is polite to him, they make it clear that constitutionally he is not to be involved in running the government.

    The film is a charming one - full of those "Lubitsch touches". For example, Chevalier's growing anger and impatience at his political uselessness is first shown when he asks one of the courtiers (who has just politely put him in his place), "Do you understand French?" "No, I'm afraid I don't.", says the courtier. Chevalier, with perfect timing, shoots out a long, furious diatribe of French, which one can tell is gutter language, to show his fury at his position - much to the dismay of the courtier. Later on, when the Prime Minister also puts down Chevalier's attempts at advice, he smiles and asks the Prime Minister, "Excuse me, but do you speak French?" Belmore looks at him puzzled, "Yes I do speak French." With an eat dirt smile, Chevalier says, "What a pity!" In the end, it is a financial crisis (which with typical Lubitsch humor can only depend on the foreign investors in Sylvanian securities, all of whom have to observe the reactions of the Afghan Ambassador - bearded Russ Powell - to a court function) that gives Chevalier his chance. Chevalier will only show his true love for his wife if she and the cabinet give him a voice in public affairs like Prince Albert had. And they give in.

    It would not be the last visit Hollywood paid to Sylvania. Unlike other Balkan pseudo-states, it actually reappeared four years later, though under more "sinister" circumstances. In 1933 the Sylvanian Ambassador to a neighboring country tried to use underhanded means to bring about it's annexation by his homeland. However, Ambassador Trentino (Louis Calhern) did not count upon the Dictator of Freedonia (Rufus T. Firefly - Groucho Marx) and his three brothers to force him to surrender in a barrage of vegetables and fruit in DUCK SOUP.
  • An early musical (Ernst Lubitsch's first talkie), so the sound can be hard on the ears (especially Jeanette MacDonald's high notes). The plot as such is forgettable, but see it for the performances.

    It seems odd to match Jeanette MacDonald's operetta singing with Maurice Chevalier's cabaret, but each gets their own numbers and they join in the middle for duets.

    Lupino Lane and Lillian Roth do two wonderful vaudeville style song and dance numbers.
  • Poor Queen Louise – when she is awakened by her attendants she has been dreaming of love but must face another day in the Kingdom of Sylvania without a husband. When an errant military adjutant is recalled from Paris to face her censure she falls for his charms and he for hers, and they marry. But the Queen's new husband is unhappy in the role of obedient consort. Conflict arises but is eventually resolved, as we know it will be in operetta land.

    This early Lubitsch musical rates about the same as MONTE CARLO made a year later. The highlight here is the performance of Maurice Chevalier as the consort, a sort of pre-Cary Grant Cary Grant, Gallic style. He has the same effortless magnetism and charm and a certain physical resemblance. Jeanette MacDonald is as good here as in MONTE CARLO, handling songs and dialogue with equal aplomb and looking gorgeous in her filmy gowns. As is usual with Lubitsch, there is a superior supporting cast, here including the formidable Lupino Lane as Chevalier's valet, a sassy and brassy Lillian Roth as Lane's love interest and Edgar Norton as the "Master of Ceremonies," the personification of royal lackey. Another Lubitsch hallmark, the measured depiction of ritualistic daily activities, gets much display in the context of the protocols of a royal palace. The songs by Victor Schertzinger and Clifford Grey are only passable and the primitive sound recording doesn't help in getting them across but the tone of the whole enterprise is so frothy and pleasant that one doesn't mind not hearing all of the lyrics.

    When you compare this film to other musicals from the dawn of the sound era like Broadway MELODY the difference is glaring. Lubitsch's camera is liberated and fluid and we get an assortment of physical approaches to song and dance numbers which themselves vary in style from pompous operetta-military to musical hall slapstick to Gilbert-and- Sullivanesque call-and-repeat choral to intimate romantic duets. There is a hint of LOVE ME TONIGHT in some of the ensemble work, particularly with the palace staff. And the script is studded with witty observations and clever comic constructions, some via dialogue, some through pure visuals. THE LOVE PARADE illustrates that in 1929 Rouben Mamoulian (APPLAUSE) was not alone among film directors in recognizing the value of sound as an artistic element and in refusing to subordinate the freedom of the camera to the dictates of miking.
  • the sort of film that filmmakers to day are unable to make. it is too simple for them. it has a story with a beginning, middle and end. far too simple for the current crop of genius. the stars were real stars i swear they sometimes glittered. the directors famous touch was in fine form and even after many years i can remember walking home in a romantic glow. could anyone do the same after watching one of to days EPICS. i agree there must have been sound faults and other technical problems though i do not remember them. later on i heard a radio version also enjoyed. like far too many films of the past the love parade is unavailable to us on video or DVD. it may have been damaged and no longer usable though i do hope not. if there is any way to urge the current copyright owners to re-issue the film i would certainly like to be involved. are there other enthusiasts out there who agree?
  • 100: The Love Parade (1929) - released 11/19/1929, viewed 6/10/08.

    DOUG: I always said that as soon as they released an Ernst Lubitsch box set, I would check it out. As Lubitsch's first sound film, 'The Love Parade' would have closed out the 20's for us. This is my 5th Lubitsch film, and he has yet to disappoint me. Right from the start, Lubitsch has an excellent handle on how to utilize sound, dialogue, and music, but still gets plenty of mileage out of dialogue-free business, such as the opening scene. The two leads spark nearly as much chemistry as they would later in 'Love Me Tonight': Chevalier (in his second sound film) is charming as ever, and Jeanette McDonald (in her first film) is supremely sexy (really!), showing a lot more skin in several scenes than the Hays Code would have likely allowed. I thought the second half of the film lagged quite a bit; once the two are married, it's just a series of scenes of Alfred becoming miserable with his new life, suffering under the soul-crushing set-up of "many duties and no rights." Lupino Lane and Lillian Roth add a lot of cuteness, spunk, and verve to the proceedings as Alfred and Louise's respective sidekicks/hired help; their performance of "Let's Be Common" was my favorite musical number of the piece. Judging by his footwork, I'm guessing Lane came off of vaudeville. Although I enjoyed this movie less than the other four Lubitsch comedies I've seen, I still recommend it.

    KEVIN: Going back to 1929 we have this royal battle of the sexes, Lubitsch-style! Though not an essential, this movie was definitely worth checking out. The always reliable Maurice Chevalier (in his second sound film), and the lovely singer Jeanette MacDonald (in her first film) star in The Love Parade, Ernst Lubitsch's teasing romantic musical. When a suave ambassador (Chevalier) gets in one too many scandals in his beloved Paris, he returns home to his native Silvania, where he catches the eye of the man-starved queen (MacDonald). But when they wed, he becomes not a king but the "queen-consort," a position with many mundane duties but no responsibilities or power of any kind. That and his lovely new wife is more focused on her queenly duties. Naturally, he finds his new life more than a little unsatisfying. I found the struggle of Chevalier's character to be fresh and appealing, portraying a man who refuses to remain a trophy husband. There were several scenes where it felt as though the gender roles had been reversed, though the scene in the opera house where Chevalier basically taunts MacDonald into submission worried me some. But overall, the irresistible team of Chevalier & Lubitsch definitely met my expectations. The dialogue-free opening scene was a stitch. MacDonald manages to strike the right balance of lovelorn maiden and blue-blooded royal. Lupino Lane and Lillian Roth (who would appear the following year in Animal Crackers) make a great team and provide some fantastic sidekick laughs (and some of the more inventive dance numbers).

    Last film viewed: Wings (1927). Last film chronologically: The Cocoanuts (1929). Next film viewed: The Divorcée (1930). Next film chronologically: Anna Christie (1930).
  • The Love Parade which was Maurice Chevalier's second feature film is as fresh today as it was in 1929 when it garnered a whole flock of Academy Award nominations. It was Paramount's prestige film of the year, in fact I'm not sure if any other Paramount features got any nominations for anything that year.

    It was Ernst Lubitsch's first sound feature film and apparently the man with the famed Lubitsch touch hit the ground running in the new medium with a bunch of players who were also fresh to cinema because of the coming of sound. This was Jeanette MacDonald's film debut and while she's not billed over the title as Chevalier was, her part is every bit as important and as big as his.

    Maurice Chevalier has been cutting a wide swath among the ladies of Paris where he's attached to the embassy of Sylvania. So much so that he's been recalled to Sylvania for a reprimand or so he thinks.

    Jeanette MacDonald is the new young Queen of Sylvania and she's got to marry for reasons of state. As did many a female monarch, British ones like Victoria, Anne, and the two Marys all took husbands for reasons of state and the method they chose them was as much political as anything else. Only Elizabeth I managed to escape the marriage obligation.

    While her diplomats look askance on Chevalier's romantic antics, Jeanette sees in him one grand candidate for marriage. If she's got to get married for reasons of state by God she's going to pick a husband who's going to be ready to romp at a royal command.

    The Love Parade's musical score was written by Victor Schertzinger and Clifford Grey. The first notes Jeanette MacDonald ever sang on screen were from her hit song, Dream Lover. It's not the same song as Bobby Darin had a hit in the Fifties from. Film fans will recognize it as the flying theme that Cecil B. DeMille used as background music when Betty Hutton and Cornel Wilde were on the trapeze in The Greatest Show On Earth. Jeanette also sings March of the Grenadiers as she reviews her palace guard.

    Chevalier's two big numbers were Paris Stays The Same and My Love Parade from whence the title comes. Both were written to suit his grand boulevardier style. Some comic numbers were written for Lupino Lane and Lillian Roth who are the second leads. Lupino is Chevalier's orderly and Roth is one of her maids. They make a cute pair with their impish behavior, aping their masters.

    The Love Parade got six Oscar nominations, but did not win in any category and the categories were a lot fewer back in the day. It was up for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Maurice Chevalier, Best Sound Recording, Best Art Direction, and Best Cinematography. It also has a lot fewer overacted performances that were the norm in those early sound days. It was as if Ernst Lubitsch instinctively knew what to do with sound in film.

    The story is about a Prince Consort and usually the model that is held up is that of Prince Albert for Queen Victoria. But that's not the road Chevalier wants to take.

    It's a continental story and yet Lubitsch as he always did, made those stories appealing to American audiences. After 80 years, The Love Parade is still appealing.
  • Count Alfred (Maurice Chevalier) has disgraced his home country of Sylvania with one too many scandalous affairs with married women, and the ambassador of Sylvania commands him to return home. Alfred's manservant, Jacques (Lupino Lane), begs to come along, and his master relents. Alfred, burdened with a newly acquired French accent that makes him sound most un-Sylvanian, fears the wrath of his queen (Jeanette MacDonald). But instead of having him shot, she falls in love with him, and he with her. The entire kingdom, which has had nothing on its mind except seeing the queen get married, is thrilled. As Jacques and Lulu the maid (Lillian Roth) conduct their own romance, reveling in their commonness, Alfred discovers at the altar that his own marriage will be most uncommon - and a dire threat to his manhood. He may be marrying a queen, but he most definitely won't be a king.

    Ernst Lubitsch directed this marvelous technical and artistic achievement back when other early sound films were still stumbling along. Four outstanding performances from four witty and charming performers (Chevalier, MacDonald, Lane and Roth) grace this lavishly produced musical comedy with its champagne-bubble songs and sexually-charged dialogue.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Even if the Queen liked him, would he be eligible to become the Queen's consort?" asks a courtier.

    "Absolutely!" says the prime minister. "His great-grandfather was the illegitimate son of one king and his grandmother the sweetheart of another."

    "I had no idea he came from such a distinguished family," says the minister of war.

    And before long Count Alfred Renard (Maurice Chevalier), the former Sylvanian military attaché at the embassy in Paris, is being married to Louise (Jeannette MacDonald), Queen of Sylvania. We're halfway through the first musical Ernst Lubitsch made in Hollywood, and a delight it is. It's Ruritanian operetta, or rather Sylvanian operetta, but it shows what Lubitsch was doing to bring an early Hollywood cliché -- musicals filmed with cameras pointed straight at the stage-bound musical numbers -- into what the musicals, influenced by Lubitsch, became. The effervescent and amusing songs, with music by Victor Schertzinger and lyrics by Clifford Grey, for the most part come from the plot. The camera moves fluidly. The actors don't play to the camera except when Lubitsch deliberately has them do so.

    Most importantly, the movie is a delight. For a generation or two who uneasily know of Maurice Chevalier only as an old man telling us how much he loves little girls, Chevalier in his prime shows us why he became such an international star. The man is sexy, charming, worldly and likable. He has a self-deprecating sense of humor. His Alfred Renard is a womanizer of the old school… he doesn't love them and leave them, he loves them and leaves them smiling, as satisfied as he is. Jeannette MacDonald is a revelation for those most familiar with her trilling a song in duet with the wooden Nelson Eddy. She's quite good as a light comedienne and manages to keep Chevalier from overshadowing her.

    The story? Renard is recalled from Paris because of his scandalous doings with wives, maids and duchesses. He returns to Sylvania, where the Queen is prepared not to be amused. But Queen Louise also dreams of having a husband who loves her as a woman, not a Queen. She is beautiful, a bit imperious, and agrees that any husband of hers will not become the king, only a prince consort. And after the two marry, a case it appears of true love, will the Queen be smart enough to distinguish between the role of a prince consort and the role of her husband. And will Alfred be able to teach Louise a thing or two about being a wife as well as a Queen. Well, remember this is an operetta and anything but a happy ending would be awful. In fact, Lubitsch gives us an ending that is a deliberate reverse of the first wooing scene between the Count and the Queen. It is so unexpected, so clever and so affectionate, the only thing you can do is smile in appreciation.

    Along for the story is Alfred's man's man played by Lupino Lane and a maid of the Queen played by Lillian Roth. They have a couple of comic numbers and are first rate, especially Lane. He was a great comic star in England who built into his acts physical business that might make the Nicholas Brothers envious. (And he also was Ida Lupino's uncle.)

    The Love Parade is pre-Code. That's another way of saying that, as a Lubitsch film, it's naughty and sophisticated. With the Count and the Queen, sex is as much a part of love as a kiss. You might have one without the other, but it wouldn't be half as much fun.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is Ernst Lubitsch's first sound film and technically speaking, it's amazing. While the sound technology of the time was VERY primitive, Lubitsch was able to make the first really modern looking musical--with natural movements and a story that is NOT just another Gold Diggers sort of extravaganza (quite the rage at the time). Reading through the trivia on IMDb, I saw that it was the first or among the first musicals to be filmed this way--and that this was done by ignoring the speakers and re-dubbing the film after it was completed! All I know is that compared to other musicals of the day, it stands up very, very well---even if the singing of Jeanette MacDonald (in her first film) is a bit dated stylistically.

    "The Love Parade" starts out with a wonderfully clever scene that illustrates what a cool and confident lover Maurice Chevalier plays in this film. I could say more about it, but really think you need to see it. Chevalier's antics in Paris cause some problems with officials from his home country, Sylvania, and he is ordered back home to answer for his sexual shenanigans. However, instead of being punished, he meets the Queen (MacDonald) and the two soon fall in love--complete with LOTS of singing.

    Considering how pretty and sweet MacDonald is, you'd think that Chevalier would be ecstatic when they marry. Well, that is NOT the case at all as he has nothing to do and no power. In essence, he's like a royal trophy husband. And, to make matters worse, MacDonald does just about everything she can to keep him emasculated. So, it's not at all a surprise when he walks. Can their love be rekindled or are they destined for separate lives?

    I will freely admit that this is not a perfect film or even close to it if you compare it to modern films---or even musicals from just a few years later. However, for 1929, it's just about perfect--exceptional in every way. So, if you can understand and appreciate the groundbreaking nature of the film, you'll no doubt enjoy it. Though, you will wonder why the Queen and her Consort have such amazingly different accents considering they both are Sylvanians!

    I noticed that Lupino Lane played Chevalier's funny butler. He did a great job in the film and it's one of the small number of sound films in which he appeared. Believe it or not, he was a prolific silent comedian--and a very funny one. You get a hint of this in the VERY physical song he and the maid perform at 65 minutes into the movie. I have seen him in a few of his silent films and can recommend you see one if you get the chance. In addition, silent comic Ben Turpin also makes a short cameo appearance.
  • This is very much like a Vienese operetta, with its principle couple - Chevalier and MacDonald - and its second couple, the help, who mirror the principle couple in a light way. The music often sounds like minor Johann Strauss or early Lehar, and the plot owes a lot to The Merry Widow.

    Still, my favorite aspect of this movie is that, being pre-code, it constantly flirts with the edge of what could be dared in those days. It's never in any way obscene or vulgar, but it's constantly winking at the audience about matters sexual, and of course the last shot is of the couple in bed - one bed. Hollywood wouldn't enjoy that freedom for another 30 years.

    It's all very light and, in the end, not very memorable, but along with One Hour with You, which I probably prefer, a very enjoyable way to spend an evening.
  • Sure, the talkies knocked the cinema industry for six, but we rallied well, and one of the greatest assets in our armoury was the musical. The early sound features could appear stilted and static, but with songs to carry the narrative along, the new medium could really come into its own.

    It's sometimes been claimed that there were no "integrated" musicals - the ordinary-people-bursting-into-song type - before the 1940s. This is of course nonsense as any 30s musical buff should know, and in fact The Love Parade is the first example of such on the screen. But the tradition is older still, and this picture is only really a cinematic update of the operetta, a popular stage format most often associated with Europe. Appropriately enough The Love Parade has a light-hearted tone and Ruritanian backdrop, and is helmed by that most Ruritanian of directors, Mr Ernst Lubitsch. But this being the "pre-code" era, and Lubitsch being his usual sly self, it is also a rather modern and uninhibited affair. In this world, bed-hopping is the norm and marriage is the exception. It's all conveyed with crackling wit and subtlety, from the cheeky dialogue of Guy Bolton and Ernest Vajda (such as Chevalier's illegitimate descent from royalty being described as "from a good family") and Lubitsch's own smart little constructions with the implied rather than the stated.

    In many ways The Love Parade harks back to Lubitsch's Berlin comedies from a decade earlier. It is filled with many of the absurd visual gags that characterised the director's German output, such as the unfeasibly large heap of apple cores that Chevalier has amassed during his garden sulk. It may be that with the coming of sound, Lubitsch was being careful to keep things image-based and not let too much verbal humour slow the story down. Whether or not this is the case, these silly sight gags are very welcome. Certainly, in the earliest scenes there seems to be a deliberate reference to this still being a primarily visual comedy. Even for viewers who don't speak French, the opening routine is very funny. Chevalier's occasional English asides, addressed directly to the camera, function like intertitles.

    But the aim here is not to pretend the sound revolution isn't going on. After all, this is a musical! The Love Parade in fact makes the most of sound. We are treated to the heavenly melodies of composer Victor Schertzinger, who oddly enough had a day job as a film director. Lubitsch does not shoot the musical numbers with as much zip as Rouben Mamoulian would for the sublime Love Me Tonight, but he nevertheless shows some musical sensibilities, keeping the camera back when a song swells up, and showing off each character's performance within the song as if it were a dance.

    And of course with the coming of sound we get a wave of sound-friendly stars. Maurice Chevalier did not have the voice of a crooner, but he was a true performer. With superb control over his movements, inventive little twitches and fluorishes that make him uniquely interesting, and impeccable comic timing, he is like a cartoon character come to life. He is absolutely enchanting to watch and listen to. Jeanette MacDonald is more in the vein of an opera singer, and as such while her voice is beautiful her words are hard to pick out. Still, she can certainly act, and has the comedienne's touch, playing the queen as a spoiled little girl, a little like Miranda Richardson as Elizabeth I in Blackadder. It's just a pity, what with the misogynist plot, her character doesn't have the authority of Elizabeth. Chevalier's prince consort could do with being reminded of what happened to the Earl of Essex.

    And let us not forget the supporting roles played by Lupino Lane and Lillian Roth. These two clowns are a delight to watch, although they do highlight the lack of confidence producers had in these early days of sound. The tendency was to turn these early talkies into a kind of variety show, packing diversions in between the chunks of plot. I don't begrudge Lupino and Roth's appearance because they are great entertainers who are now rarely seen, but their inclusion seems somewhat tacked on (Roth, despite playing the queen's maid, appears in no scenes with MacDonald) and Chevalier and MacDonald could easily have carried the picture unaided. Lubitsch and co. would realise this, and successive Paramount musicals are shorter and more streamlined, with just a little more substance.
  • Womanizer Count Alfred Renard (Maurice Chevalier) marries Queen Louise (Jeanette MacDonald) of Sylvania, but the marriage may not be a happy one.

    While not up to the quality of Love Me Tonight, The Love Parade is an amiable enough musical, even though the songs are forgettable. The deft hand of Ernst Lubitsch adds immensely to the film; unlike the majority of early sound films, the camera is mobile. Chevalier and MacDonald are charming, and Lupino Lane and Lillian Roth are good in support. The script is good, especially in the first scene in Paris.

    First time viewing. 3.5/5
  • There isn't much to this early Ruritanian musical, adapted from some sort of stage play to feature the singing of Maurice Chevalier, the rakish count Alfred Renard, and Jeanette MacDonald as Queen Louise of Sylvania. In the early sections the count is a cheerfully cynical Don Juan, and in the end Petruchio. That is, he is a libertine in Paris and gets sent home, where he marries the queen, but soon tires of being second and uses coolness and distance to teach her a lesson. The refeminization of the dominant woman—that is, stripping her of her power, leaving her simpering—is rather unpleasant. MacDonald is earnest but unconvincing as a queen, largely because of her relaxed posture and her accent, though she sings like a good stage monarch. She and Chevalier do have the good grace to be self-parodic—he's at his best explaining, with a charming grin, why he is the only one in the movie with a French accent. There's a charming second couple, the count's valet (Lupino Lane) and the maid Lulu (Lillian Roth), who parallel the queen's courtship of the count with their own rather cruder antics. Also nice is to hear the rumbling voice of the great character actor Eugene Palette, who plays a lamentably small part, but plays it well.
  • Maurice Chevalier's playboy soldier finds married life to the Queen of Sylvania (a debuting Jeannette MacDonald) something of an ordeal in this frothy Lubitsch offering. Released in 1929, The Love Parade shows little of the awkwardness found in many other movies made during the difficult transition to sound, but the paper-thin fairy tale plot is a little creaky. The charming Chevalier shines between comic interludes of varying quality from Lupino Lane and Lillian Roth.
  • Credited as the first integrated screen musical (as opposed to revues and backstage ones), with the singing serving and commenting on the narrative, "The Love Parade" is technically superior to most early talkies and far more entertaining. On top of this, Maurice Chevalier was among the first performers in the sound era to break the fourth wall, winking at the camera, addressing the audience, and looking directly at the camera during song to serenade the spectator, further commenting on the narrative.

    The plot of "The Love Parade" is what would become, as film historians and theorists like Rick Altman ("The American Film Musical") have argued, the classic dual-focus narrative, where the film alternates between scenes and songs of the story's romantic duo. Unlike other genres, the focus of the musical becomes the contrasts between these two, beginning with the obvious male/female dichotomy as well as various subordinate conflicts: in this case, the battle of the sexes takes on a bit of a class struggle, reaching all the way to the fictional nation's sovereign, which is further annotated by a secondary coupling between servants, who are both narratively and socially second class to the main romance between the Queen and the Prince Consort. Mostly, the servants, as well as the Queen's advisors, content themselves with observing and commenting on the royal courtship. The main benefit of their existences seemingly being that they may perform some slapstick routines during their musical numbers. The servants and advisors, however, do serve an interesting purpose as the spectator's on-screen surrogates, as they likewise view the main romance involving Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald. When the Queen and Prince Consort resort to on-screen spectator surrogates, they're also performers, attending a ballet--a musical within a musical--to secure the country's fate, although the Prince also exploits the situation to ogle ballerinas much to the Queen's consternation.

    Class hierarchies are only subordinate here to ones of gender, with the main conflict being that the Prince Consort is unhappy as the Queen's plaything. Despite the potential this gender-reversal plot provides for rethinking the role of women and the traditional view of wife as plaything, the ultimate resolution and restoration of order to the kingdom seems patriarchal (contrary to what some critics claim), with the Queen groveling to her newly-appointed "King." Plus, the gender imbalance is registered from the start, as soon as Chevalier enters the picture and addresses the audience--fourth wall breaking being entirely within man's domain here. Regardless, the more interesting conflict is musical, with matching solo scenes and uniting duets: between the heavenly, operatic voice of MacDonald and the bodily, down-to-earth and intimate crooning of Chevalier.

    Director Ernst Lubitsch was a master in his day not only of filmmaking in general, but of sexual innuendo. The French connection, beginning the story in Paris and the role of the French Chevalier is important to this. The opening Parisian sequence, indeed, bears little relevance on the subsequent plot except to establish Chevalier's sexual exploits, but the closed-door opening and the gun play humorously exploit audience expectations and the role of sound in that and in relation to the once almost exclusively-visual form of silent film--and is rather the opposite of the film's final visual touch of Chevalier's wink and theatrical closing of the curtains (somewhat as well as Ben Turpin's cross-eyed cameo). There are also some jokes involving the fictional Kingdom of Sylvania and its native inhabitant played by Chevalier having a French accent, while the rest of the country is populated by Americans and Brits. Chevalier tells a joke of a cold he had and a doctor's wife, which the film cuts away from, leaving to our imaginations the details for his acquiring a French accent. Meanwhile, Chevalier's valet is a Frenchman, but is played by the English Lupino Lane. Additionally, there are a few little cultural gags of interest (e.g. the tour buss and radio commercial).

    Technically, "The Love Parade" is remarkable given the near inability to edit soundtracks at the time. Crosscutting between duets of singers in two separate locations required the simultaneous filming of two separate sets while the orchestra performed live. I'm assuming that the "March of the Grenadiers," which features an extensive montage, involved some dubbing, too. While the pace of Lubitsch's films surely slowed down and the amount of scene dissection decreased during his early musicals compared to his silent films, it's still impressive how much of the visual style, especially based on looks, he retains from that era. Perhaps because Lubitsch was already a master filmmaker, whose silent films were also frequently adapted from operettas ("The Merry Jail" (1917) and "So This is Paris" (1926), e.g.), he didn't have the same difficulties as other filmmakers in adjusting to talkies; "The Love Parade" was merely Lubitsch's first operetta with the addition of sound. Little is subtracted in that addition. The sets, especially the Queen's boudoir, are opulent, and the "director of doors" continued to pay close attention to the photography and cutting around the set's giant entryways, including their function in the system of looks by servants spying through keyholes--as well as windows. The gorgeous costumes or lack thereof, especially MacDonald appearing in a negligee and a bath, complete the film's reliance on the male gaze.
  • "Anything for the Queen" will be my new motto around the household, specifically for my bf. It is good to see that you can learn something from 82+ years ago for the first time.

    I've always been a fan of 30's musicals so it was a treat to see this movie for the first time of my life as a historical piece, but also to see the development of musical movies from the start. I am blessed to live within 30 miles of the Stanford Theater in Palo Alto, CA that offers amazing film histories, museum and revivals every week of the year.

    I can now see why Chevalier was such a hit -- he had natural wit, humor and timing, something I never witnessed in later films (such as Gigi) where his talents were mostly condensed down to singing.

    Jeanette McDonald's operatic singing was extraordinary, but does feel "dated" in the film in contrast to the impeccable performances, timing, dance and humor-filled vaudevillian routines of Lupino Lane and Lillian Roth. IMO they stole the show (sort of like a 'Jack & Karen' team did from "Will & Grace").

    I would see the movie again just to check out the servant scenes and a well-deserved nod to the animal trainer for the dog performances. The entire cinema was laughing at the opening goodbye to Paris scene.
  • As covered in previous comments The Love Parade is important historically, with it being Jeanette MacDonald's debut, Maurice Chevalier's second film, director Ernst Lubitsch's first sound picture and Chevalier and MacDonald's first pairing together. But The Love Parade still does manage as well to be, apart from some primitive sound quality, a great film and compares favourable within Lubitsch's mostly consistent(in a good way) filmography.

    The costumes and sets in The Love Parade are wonderfully opulent and the photography is very stylishly done. Lubitsch's distinctive style is evident all through the film, bringing a huge amount of class, subtlety and elegance. What he also did brilliantly was making camera and sound effects more flexible counterpointing the music numbers, and also even for his first sound picture having a technical mastery already with apparently having two sets built for one number shot simultaneously with the orchestra off screen between the two sets, going back and forth in the editing, something that had never been done before. The songs are very pleasant and memorable at least, with the beautiful and catchy duet My Love Parade, the charmingly intimate Dream Lover and the hugely entertaining Let's Be Common faring the best. The choreography's elegant and poised and in other places witty and inventive, the highlight number in this regard being Let's Be Common.

    The script was one of my favourite things about The Love Parade, it was very sophisticated and deliciously witty, particularly funny was the writing regarding the Count's political uselessness. There's even some sexual innuendo that was very ahead of its time back in 1929. The story is full of immense charm and sophisticated style with a seductive edge, not ever making the mistake of being dull or improbable(and if it did really it would not be as glaring as the story in Monte Carlo). The characters are very likable and the performances from all four leads do not disappoint at all. Noteworthy especially were MacDonald whose screen debut was a revelation being both sexy and regal and singing like an angel and Lupino Lane whose incredible physical comedy is enough to make one seethe with envy. Sassy Lillian Roth sparkles as Lane's partner and Chevalier is the epitome of Gallic warmth and charm. The chemistry between him and MacDonald beguiles and for two relatively different singing styles they blend remarkably well when singing together.

    Overall, a great film. While I may prefer The Merry Widow, Heaven Can Wait, The Shop Around the Corner and especially Trouble in Paradise over The Love Parade it is unsurprising that The Love Parade was a huge hit at the time and still wins over people now. 9/10 Bethany Cox
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Ernst Lubitsch was at his wits end in trying to find a leading lady for his first talking picture which was going to star Maurice Chevalier, the discovery of the year. He needed someone who was young, could sing and dance, look regal enough to be a Queen but ravishing enough to wear a skimpy nightgown. He had almost decided on Bebe Daniels but then saw a screen test of a former chorus girl who had been bought to Hollywood as a discovery of Richard Dix - Jeanette MacDonald. Her work consisted of a couple of second rate Broadway shows but with Lubitsch to guide her, she was perfection!!!

    With champagne bottles, the Eiffel Tower and dancing showgirls as a montage, the scene is set in Paris as dashing playboy Count Alfred Renard (Maurice Chevalier) has a narrow escape from the husband of his latest mistress - "She's terribly jealous" Chevalier says, in a typical audience aside. He and his loyal valet (Lupino Lane) bid adieu to Paris "Paris, Still Stay the Same", as the song is carried on by his score of female admirers - even the dogs have a chorus!!!

    Meanwhile in Sylvania, beautiful Queen Louise (Jeanette MacDonald) is awakened from her sleep - "Why am I always awakened from my dreams?" - sweet lady-in-waiting (Virginia Bruce) asks "What did my lady dream?" That is Jeanette's cue to sing the beautiful "Dream Lover". The song takes her from her opulent bed to her bath!!! The most pressing concern for the country is the Queen's matrimonial state - she, for one, is sick of it!!! The Castle Band is forever playing the Wedding March!! The problem is the groom would only be a Prince Consort and not a King - and no red blooded male wants to take it on!!

    Alfred goes back to his home in Sylvania and when Louise meets him she is not impressed - until she reads the accounts of all his scandalous affairs - together they sing "Anything to Please the Queen". At dinner that night Alfred sings of his "Love Parade" of women, but that she has the charms of them all, rolled into one - "the eyes of Dauphine, smile of Josephine"!! The next scene is the marriage and Louise is absolutely gorgeous in one of the longest trains ever, but the ceremony is causing Alfred second thoughts - he wants his manhood back!!! Marriage proves tough for Alfred - Louise has her engagements during the day, she arranges tennis and bridge for Alfred, plus an afternoon nap "to keep up his strength"!! His valet is finding life more harmonious with Lulu (lively Lillian Roth) - they do a comic song and dance to "Let's Be Common" - one of the highlights of this wonderful movie.

    Alfred is so frustrated - he even sings a song about it - "Nobody's Using Now". In his spare time he has drawn up a budget to help the troubled country stay solvent but because he is only a Prince Consort his plans are not considered. When he is told that Sylvania is going ahead with a loan but it all depends on his behaviour during a night at the ballet - he takes a stand!! He walks into the performance late and amid cheers and claps manages to upstage Louise. Now the roles are reversed and Louise has a humiliating night as Alfred at last gets his manhood back!!

    This is a dazzling film from the first scene of Lupino Lane deftly swishing a tablecloth out from under a set table as he sings "Champagne". The songs could almost tell the story on their own, each song was essential to the plot - unlike the Operetta tradition of the time which had characters bursting into song for no reason. There was also fluid camera movement ie when Victor Milmer sweeps his camera over the elaborate wedding and ballet sequences. Lupino Lane and Lillian Roth make a riotous "common" couple and compliment the more regal pair. Among the "Lubitsch touches" - an American tour group are driven through the beautiful Sylvania and are clearly not interested - however when they hear that the income is over $100,000,000 a year - they are all agog!! Silent comedian Ben Turpin also makes a cameo appearance as a crosseyed messenger - supposedly unlucky for Alfred!!!

    Highly, Highly Recommended.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    An excellent print. I saw this back in the early 90's on the American movie channels first annual film preservation film festival ,befor it went down hill. I was disappointed that they did not include the vagabond King. At the time it was found intact.Maurice plays an official to the royal government having a good time in Paris.But he's spied on by other officials when he is caught having an affair with a married women by her husband and she pretentiously tries to commit suicide. After things are straightened out , he's caught by a main official and is scolded and he is demanded to go back to his Country to be punish by his queen who's is unmarried. Every body is pressuring her to get married cause her country is bankrupt and they need a loan. Once she sees Maurice and he see's her they fall for each other.After they get married she treats him like a dog having nothing to do . His servant played by Lupino lane and her servant played by Lilian Roth ,who also was in the vagabond king,fall for each other too.He gets frustrated that when he presents to her the country's budget stating that they need no loan that hes was writing for weeks. She and her counsels get angry at him for suggesting it . The marriage goes on the rocks. He want to leave. But she begs him to stay to go with her to the opera.Surprises her to come back at least until the bill is sign. In the end they made up. A song that was written for the movie became a standard ,"dream lover. Which paramount would use the song and music over again on some of their other pictures. the story and the acting was good unlike some movie musical of the time.
  • It's obvious watching a film like Ernst Lubitsch's "The Love Parade" how novel the technology of sound was in 1929. The camera is perfectly content to sit for minutes at a time on one take while one or two people warble out a tune. No doubt the sound of that tune was enough to engage the interest of the audience watching the movie, and they didn't really need anything else.

    It's that quality that makes "The Love Parade" an interesting historical document but an ever-so-slightly-dull film. The pacing is sluggish and the movie is far too long for the little plot it has to get through -- that's not a complaint I would ever level against one of Lubitsch's films from the late 1930s or 40s.

    Maurice Chevalier and Jeannette MacDonald make a winning pair, even if Chevalier's continental finesse too often comes across as effeminate. The plot is enough to turn a modern-day audience's hair on end: MacDonald plays a queen who's punished by the film for asserting her authority and only finds happiness when she allows her new husband to take control. But this was 1929, so let's not be too harsh on it.

    Two of the film's mostly unknown (to me anyway) supporting actors, Lupino Lane and Lillian Roth, steal the show with a frisky comedy number in which Lane gets a chance to show off his acrobatic skills.

    Overall a rather boring film, but not in an unenjoyable way, if that makes any sense. It's the kind of movie to put in when you want to get cozy and zone out to something harmless.

    Grade: B
  • Today, this film seems very dated. However, the wit of the writing and direction and the charm of the leading characters makes it still worth watching. The singing is enjoyable, but there are no particularly memorable tunes. The renowned "Lubitsch touch" is evident.
  • This film did a number of things supremely well, given the limits at the time of the VERY early talkies and a rather bland musical score. First - and perhaps foremost - the songs were integrated into the action and the plot beautifully. Unlike so many other "talkathons" of the time in which the camera stares at the characters' mouths all the time, we follow the characters as they go about their lives normally - while singing at the same time! Lubitsch didn't miss a step here. And although the two quite different styles of singing were in deep contrast, so were the characters! Although the country was about to be invaded by a Puritanical "Code" a bit later - and Prohibition in full swing - the film is in no way whatsoever crude or lewd. Neither was its director who could show more action filming a closed door than most others could depict in an entire film. I enjoyed this romp very much.
  • While I've previously seen the original To Be or Not to Be, part of me feels this might have been the first time I've seen a real Ernst Lubitsch film. That's because this one was made before the Production Code of 1934 that forbid certain material from being depicted for several decades was put into effect. So we get to see what the Maurice Chevalier character did to humiliate himself in the beginning scenes before being teamed romantically with the Queen of a fictional country. She's played by Jeanette MacDonald in her film debut. And while we don't hear anything graphic, it's quite clear what kind of material Ms. MacDonald is reading when she looks at the past exploits of Chevalier in her manuscript. This was another early talkie, in fact Lubitsch's first, that didn't have the stilted quality of many of those other ones made at this period and reading that this was shot silent first before the voices and sound were post-dubbed was fascinating to read on this site. While it took awhile, I did warm to the kind of give-and-take of the two leads though I felt the picture really came to life when the help, played by Lupino Lane and Lillian Roth, were doing their own slapstick numbers in remarkable contrast to the more dignified singing of Chevalier and MacDonald though Chevalier himself also provided some lively moments both during his numbers and some of his solo scenes as well as those with Ms. MacDonald. Oh, and reading this was the first integrated movie musical was also a fascinating find for me since for the past several weeks, I've been reviewing this genre of movies in chronological order in order to prepare for the current release of the latest-Les Miserables. So on that note, The Love Parade was interesting to watch both historically and entertainment-wise.
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