25 September 2011 | misctidsandbits
I have watched this movie in part several times, but caught it tonight on TCM or from my DVR of a recent showing. It is a special one, and was interested in checking out these magnificent sets created for it. They were wonderful.
Liked Chevalier in this particularly. I agree with the reviewer who finds Jeannette McDonald's singing a bit of a trial. I don't care for most opera type singing. Get ready for some corn here: Was reminded of something Andy Griffith said about opera singing (from a comic recording), "Some people say opera is just hollerin', and it is; but it's high class hollerin'." It comes across that way to me. That quote may offend the cinematic detail oriented enthusiasts of this film - sorry.
However, I have enjoyed a few old operettas, thinking of "Sweet Kitty Bellairs" from 1930 featuring Claudia Dell and Walter Pidgeon. Ms. Dell was easier on the ears than Ms. McDonald. Pidgeon's singing was pleasing, and I found the piece entertaining.
In watching C. Aubrey Smith in this, I thought for the umpteenth time whether he was born an old man. He is always ancient in every movie I have ever seen with him. Actually, his Hollywood films were done in his elderly years. Finally looked him up and found he was born in 1863. Wow. He did London stage, Broadway and came to Hollywood much later. He died in California at age 85.
This is a good film and has interest for its genre. It is probably my favorite Chevalier. It was odd seeing Charles Ruggles in this. They were talking about Myrna Loy during the intro to the movie, saying this film may have begun her being used in something other than the Oriental evil women or vamp types. Only a few people were making the decisions on casting back then in the studio system, and thankfully, they finally broke her out of that old mold and began to find out how engaging she was as a wife and later as a comedienne.