This is one of those very rare remakes that's better than the original, although the same director had a hand in both. Lubitsch made THE MARRIAGE CIRCLE as a silent in 1924, which starred Adolphe Menjou, Florence Vidor, Monte Blue, Creighton Hale, and Marie Prevost. With the advent of
sound, he thought a musical version might work and he was right. Chevalier was signed and wanted Kay Francis and Carole Lombard as his costars (both of whom he had his Gallic eye on), but Lubitsch knew there might be a problem with that so he convinced Chevalier to accept MacDonald and Tobin. It
began with Cukor at the directorial helm and Lubitsch running all of Paramount's production. After quite a bit was shot, Lubitsch began coming on the set to make suggestions and Cukor became fed up and quit. Consequently, Lubitsch finished the movie and sought solo credit as director. Cukor asked
for a Director's Guild arbitration and won a co-director credit, although in some prints Lubitsch gets a singular credit with Cukor being listed as dialogue director. At the same time this was being shot, a French version was lensed with everyone in the cast remaining except for Tobin, Young,
Ruggles, and Barbier, who were replaced by Lily Damita, Ernest Ferny, Pierre Etchepare, and Andre Cheron, in that order.
Chevalier and MacDonald are strolling in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris and begin necking furiously. An offended policeman, Judels, tells them to stop, but they explain that they are married. He won't believe them and suggests that if what they say is true, they go home and practice their
lovemaking in the privacy of their own boudoir. They do just that and Chevalier does his first "camera take" to look at the audience and explain that they really are married and weren't kidding the gendarme. (He uses that technique several times during the movie to narrate and bridge any gaps.)
Chevalier is a doctor with an eye that tends to rove. Tobin is MacDonald's best girl friend, although she's willing to toss that aside in favor of an affair with Chevalier. She asks him to make a house call, and when he does, her intentions become evident. Tobin is married to Young, a professor
who suspects his wife of dallying, so he hires Carle, a private detective, to follow her and bring him evidence. When Carle arrives with proof that Tobin has visited Chevalier, Young tells Chevalier that he is about to divorce Tobin and will name the doctor as the reason for that splituation.
Chevalier tells MacDonald what's happened and she is stunned, then decides what's fair for the goose is fair for the gander, so she has a fling with Ruggles, who has been patiently waiting in the wings for her. Chevalier is miffed, but MacDonald says that it's now time for them to cease this
merry-making and get down to marriage. She promises to never stray again if he won't, and he happily agrees.
A minor plot at best, but the dialog crackles and the singing is wonderful. Not one of Lubitsch's best, perhaps because there was not a single guiding hand from the first day's shooting. Nevertheless, a good example of the romantic comedy-musicals of the 1930s. The film earned an Oscar nomination
for Best Picture, losing to GRAND HOTEL. Songs include: "One Hour with You" (Richard A. Whiting, Leo Robin, sung by MacDonald, Chevalier, Tobin, Ruggles, Novis), "Three Times a Day" (Whiting, Robin), "Now I Ask You What Would You Do?" (Whiting, Robin, sung by Chevalier), "What a Little Thing Like
a Wedding Ring Can Do" (Oscar Straus, Robin), "Oh That Mitzi" (Straus, Robin, sung by Chevalier), "It Was Only a Dream Kiss," "Mitzi-Colette Talk Song" (Straus, Robin), "Police Station Talk Song" (John Leipold, sung by Barbier, Chorus), and "We Will Always Be Sweethearts" (Straus, Robin, sung by
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- Review: This is one of those very rare remakes that's better than the original, although the same director had a hand in both. Lubitsch made THE MARRIAGE CIRCLE as a silent in 1924, which starred Adolphe Menjou, Florence Vidor, Monte Blue, Creighton Hale, and Mari… (more)