Friday, September 28, 2012


A fluffy romantic musical set in European high society in the manner that was popular at the time, though this one from Samuel Goldwyn feels a bit second-rate compared to the higher-toned productions being turned out by Ernst Lubitsch and others at Paramount (ONE HOUR WITH YOU, LOVE ME TONIGHT). Lilyan Tashman, an exotic performer in Budapest, incites fights so often at the nightclub where she performs that the police force her to "take a rest" by kicking her out of the city and putting her in the care of a count (John Boles) in the nearby village of Zuppa—everyone acts like just saying the name "Zuppa" is a hysterically funny bit of humor. Tashman realizes that flower girl Evelyn Laye looks like her, so she gets Laye to take on her identity and go to Zuppa in her place. Boles is excited that a woman with such a naughty reputation is staying with him, but Laye isn't quite so naughty, though eventually, they fall in love. Their budding romance is threatened when the authorities in Budapest discover Tashman's trick and send her to Zuppa.

Like the glossier Lubitsch films, this one has a fairytale operetta feel to it, but the talents both behind and on the screen seem more B-level. Boles and Laye (pictured) are OK but don't have much chemistry. Even the supporting cast is a little off. Leon Errol provides some OK comic relief as Laye's platonic companion, but I kept thinking Charles Butterworth or Edward Everett Horton would be funnier. The only other player to make any impression is Hugh Cameron as the overseer of Boles' estate; his relationship with Errol almost plays out like a parallel romance. The best scene is a duet that Boles and Laye have in the pouring rain. Not essential by any means, but as a relative rarity, I was glad to see it. [TCM]

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