I believe that I’m going to develop a love-hate relationship with this film. On the positive its a pretty good Lubitsch musical, far better than the previous The Love Parade or Monte Carlo. For all its “European charm,” its light, cute and basically Hollywood fluff, but it’s worth watching for those who enjoy musicals. Although, I was surprised to find out that there wasn’t too much singing, especially froum Colbert, and thankfully almost none from Hopkins. The sets were detailed and almost unbearably quaint and pretty, with no real life to be seen. But of course this comes with the territory (ie: musicals), doesn’t it? The rest of the movie is fine. The plot plays out quickly and is directed and filmed nicely.
My complaint comes with the ending. Actually, to be more pricise it is the ending. Nikki (Maurice Chevalier) ends up with the Princess!? I mean I this choice of an ending was to honor the sanctity of marriage, I understand that but, not only does Nikki end up with her, but the Princess (Mariam Hopkins) has to change her appearance to do so. She basically becomes a seductress, purchasing revealing clothing, makeup, a stylish haircut and an indifferent attitude to get the man. This is not only sexist, but makes Maurice Chevalier’s Nikki, who was so in love with the violinist Franzi (Claudette Colbert), seem like a dickish womanizer, lured easily away from love by the promise of sex.
And it is sex he is lured away by. Don’t let this film being shot in the 1930s fool you. It was definitely made during the pre-code era, and there are a lot of allusions and innuendos to/of sex. In a period of film history in which female actors were freed from conventional and binding sterotypes, this movie’s disposition on the sexes is unfortunate.