7.2/10
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32 user 19 critic

The Merry Widow (1934)

Passed | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 2 November 1934 (USA)
When a small kingdom's main tax payer leaves for Paris, its king dispatches a dashing count to win back her allegiance.

Director:

Ernst Lubitsch

Writers:

Ernest Vajda (screen play), Samson Raphaelson (screen play) | 7 more credits »
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Maurice Chevalier ... Prince Danilo
Jeanette MacDonald ... Sonia
Edward Everett Horton ... Ambassador Popoff
Marcel Vallée Marcel Vallée ... L'ambassadeur (French Version)
Una Merkel ... Queen Dolores
Danièle Parola ... La reine (French Version)
George Barbier ... King Achmed II
André Berley ... Le roi (French Version)
Fifi D'Orsay ... Marcelle (French Version)
Minna Gombell ... Marcelle
Ruth Channing ... Lulu
Pauline Garon ... Lola (French Version)
George Davis ... L'ordonnance (French Version)
Sterling Holloway ... Orderly Mishka
Donald Meek ... Valet
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Storyline

The small kingdom of Marshovia has a little problem. The main tax-payer, the wealthy widow Sonia (who pays 52% of the taxes) has left for Paris. So Count Danilo is sent to Paris, to stop her from getting married to a stranger, so that the danger of removing the money is averted. But this is not as easy as the ambassador in Paris has planned. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Let Joy be Unconfined! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

2 November 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La veuve joyeuse See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$329,180

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,014,620
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As he had done at Paramount, Ernst Lubitsch continued to play practical jokes on Jeanette MacDonald. During one romantic musical number, he had left in her view on the set a Hollywood Reporter story announcing that MGM had imported English soprano Evelyn Laye as a threat to her. The star ran from the soundstage in tears. See more »

Goofs

When Count Danilo leaves Madame Sonia's residence after his romantic efforts are rejected, there is a close up of him fully shutting the door. Next, when it cuts to a long shot of just Madame, you see that the door is not fully closed but is in the process of swinging shut on its own. See more »

Quotes

Sonia: [pretending to be Fifi, a Maxim Girl, admiring a painting of Napoleon] Great man. His only mistake was he attacked too early. That's how he lost Waterloo.
Count Danilo: Oh, now, listen, I don't matter if you're teasing. I rather enjoy it sometimes. But, this is absolutely demoralizing!
See more »

Alternate Versions

A slightly censored version was released to television in the 1950s - retitled "The Lady Dances". See more »


Soundtracks

Tonight Will Teach Me to Forget
(1905) (uncredited)
Music by Franz Lehár
Lyrics by Gus Kahn (1934)
Sung by Jeanette MacDonald
See more »

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User Reviews

Pure enchantment
28 February 1999 | by otterSee all my reviews

This is why Hollywood use the expression "The Lubitsch Touch". Almost every film made by that most delightful of directors was sprightly and hilarious and sexy, and this is one of his most delightful. It's the best version filmed.

Maurice Chevalier is of course just as attractive as a man can be, and Jeanette MacDonald is wonderfully funny and sexy (why oh why did she ever team up with Nelson "The Singing Capon" Eddy? With Chevalier she was enchanting, with Eddy you wanted to slap her), and the supporting cast is delightful. Wonderful script, wonderful score, fabulous thirties-period costumes, all in all a delight.


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