6 March 2020 | ulicknormanowen
And the caravan is on its way/I can hear the merry gypsies play....
Two versions were produced by Fox corp ,both featuring heart-throb Charles Boyer ,both directed by Erik Charell whose " Le congrès s'amuse " aka " der Kongress tanzt " was a blockbuster ; unfortunately its follow-up " Caravane " was a bitter failure and was to be Charell's last effort .
A Musical ,an operetta ,although no one sings a solo (except for a short tune by Boyer), with a cast of thousands , it's extremely kitsch , but by no means unpleasant .
The first and last sequences are splendid indeed : the long caravan progressing along the country under the starry vault is quite magic.Annabella (Loretta Young in the American counterpart ) is gorgeous and attractive as princess Willma ,who does not care for the etiquette ;not a stickler for form,as she must be married before midnight if she wants to take possession of her heritage ,she takes the first to come , a gypsy, Lazi.
Gypsies are fringe groups in Hungary -as they are here ,there and everywhere -,but during the grape harvest ,they are invited to spend three days in the country : their music passes for necessary to assure a good harvest ;so they are supposed to play from dusk to dawn ( the chamberlain tells it so to the new "prince" .)
Princess Willma was supposed to marry Lieutenant De Tokay ,a reveller who arrives too late to marry his fiancee ; likewise, Lazi left behind her gypsy flirt ,Tinka.Both are miserable and the man tries to seduce the adandoned girl to no avail.
Pierre Brasseur is well cast as a bon vivant ,and all in all, we are not sure that the denouement is a happy end for Willma .Misalliances were unthinkable at the time, and the main part of the movie is close to fairy tales ,except that in these tales ,the shepherd marries the princess at the end and both live happily ever after .
Here,the gist of the movie looks like a long dream ,but only dream :on the first night ,the bride must sleep apart ,and a priest makes the birdbrain see sense (the state sense ,that is).
Annabella and both her co-stars have plenty of go ,and make up for the mushy side of the story ;the festive atmosphere is intoxicating and you watch this musical with pleasure.