Students of film lore will find much to enjoy in THE LOVE PARADE. It was Ernst Lubitsch's first sound film, Jeanette MacDonald's debut, Maurice Chevalier's second picture, and the first of three that the director made with these leads. (The others were ONE HOUR WITH YOU, THE MERRY WIDOW.)
The featherweight story takes place in mythical Sylvania, where Queen Louise (MacDonald) is desperately lonely for male companionship. Count Alfred Renard (Chevalier), her emissary to France, has been cavorting so conspicuously that she has recalled him to Sylvania. Summoned to Louise's bedchamber
so she can check out what endears him to so many women, Alfred is quickly wedded to his Queen. Problems arise when the chauvinistic Count finds his role as consort intolerable, and the battle for the throne is on.
Lubitsch adapted to the requirements of sound film with ease, and the execution of the frail plot is insouciant and bubbly. The film's sexual politics are typical of its era, though a great deal of satiric ribbing takes place before the inevitable finale. The film differed from the many backstage
musicals of the day in that its musical numbers advanced, rather than stopped, the action. Chevalier and MacDonald, both expert at risque material, play beautifully together, and are in fine voice as well. Their singing highlights include his "Paris, Stay the Same" and the amusing soliloquy
"Nobody's Using It Now" and her rendition of "Dream Lover". The priceless Lupino Lane and Lillian Roth steal many scenes as palace servants, and team up for the delightful "Let's Be Common". Look for the scene where Chevalier ends up showing his "collection" of guns and garters. leave a comment