27 April 2008 | allans-7
Romance interesting for Mitchell Leisen's unofficial debut as director
This movie is credited as being directed by Stuart Walker, but apparently most of the credit can be given to Mitchell Leisen in what is effectively his debut as director (he is down as assistant director).
Given their respective careers this is not so hard to believe. Leisen had a much more notable career but for the most part is not so well known today with most of his 40+ movies unavailable commercially. A recent release of two of his most well known - Midnight and Easy Living on DVD is most welcome. I'm going to watch all of his movies as chronologically as possible and post a review on each one on this site.
I found the first part of the movie stunning and skillfully directed with some great out of this world fancy dress costumes. In the second part the movie slows down but with some great interior sets borrowed from some earlier Paramount Lubitsch movies. It is also unmistakeably pre-Code - certain scenes would not be possible not too long into the future.
A youngish Claudette Colbert looks ravishing, but unlike the previous commentators I have never quite seen the romantic appeal of Frederic March. Paul Cavanaugh has a role very much against the usual stereotype, and Alison Skipworth is most enjoyable as Grand Duchess Emilie.
Still worth watching, especially the first part.