New Moon is one of operetta's most popular warhorses; if this filmization of the material (which takes substantial liberties with the source) is not a great film, it does at least offer a half-dozen or so of Sigmund Romberg's most glorious melodies, delivered by two of the screen's finest legit voices. Indeed, New Moon is best viewed with the ears, rather than the eyes, for when Nelson Eddy's baritone is ripping through "Stout Hearted Men" or Jeanette MacDonald is soaring through "One Kiss," the viewer can close his or her eyes and believe that all is well. Unfortunately, there are long stretches of dialogue that tax the audience's patience. Moreover, even during the songs, there is Eddy's fairly bland performance with which to deal. At least Eddy is not quite so wooden as in other films; however, he's also clearly neither the ladykiller nor the revolutionary that the character is reputed to be. MacDonald comes off better, although, by this point in her career, she has totally lost the enjoyable hint of self-mockery that informed her very early performances. (Fortunately, there's Mary Boland to bring a modicum of levity to the proceedings.) New Moon does have some assets beyond the score -- such as an excellent storm-at-sea sequence -- but it's the musical moments that really make this one.
by Craig Butler review