Considered by many to be the first musical film in which the songs were integrated with the story.
There is no evidence that, as has been suggested, the dialogue is post-synced. Although there are a number of unmarried shots (i.e., not shot at the same time as the sound) throughout the film, these are always where no tight syncing is required. Almost all dialogue sequences are shot in pretty static two-shots and are plainly sync sound (in any case, accurate post-syncing would be extremely difficult in the period before looping was introduced). An exception is the song and chorus sequence just after Alfred has walked out on her, where there is solo singing at some distance from the camera, followed by a sequence with chorus; both have independent sound and visible lip-sync errors. There is no mixing of tracks in the dubbing--everything is done by editing, of which there is a considerable amount (for example, the music stops to let you hear the dog gnawing his bone just before "Nobody's using it now" and there are edits to enable this). There is a lot of level control of the sound to keep the effects (mostly live) down. The speech and sound quality are remarkably good throughout--a very considerable achievement for the period--and the synchronization always perfect. The film ends with playout music and no picture, which must have been something of an innovation at that time.
When first offered the part, Maurice Chevalier claimed that an actor of his humble background would never be capable of playing a royal courtier, and had to be persuaded by director Ernst Lubitsch.
This was the first movie to have a soundtrack created after production had ended. Ernst Lubitsch shot it with a silent camera to counter the static positions that marred most of the pioneer sound productions; the dialogue was dubbed in afterwards, in post-production.
In the novel 'Wonder Boys' by Michael Chabon, one of the characters uses the name of this film as the title for his semi-autobiographical novel. The title of the novel stays the same in the film adaptation, but the explanation is not given.
One of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929-49, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by MCA ever since. In San Francisco it made its long awaited television debut Thursday 4 February 1960 on KPIX (Channel 5). The restored version of this film was first released on DVD 12 February 2008 as one of 4 features in Criterion's Lubitsch Musicals collection, and has since enjoyed occasional presentations on Turner Classic Movies.
Despite being the most nominated film of the year with six nominations, it is the only Best Picture Oscar nominee that year not to win any awards.
Assuming its copyright has not lapsed already, this film and all others produced in 1929 enter the U.S. public domain in 2025.
The only Best Picture Oscar nominee that year not to be nominated in any of the writing categories.