(1941)2Craig ButlerOn-stage, The Chocolate Soldier was a musicalization of a George Bernard Shaw play. The film keeps the title and some of the songs, but jettisons the Shaw play entirely in favor of one by Molnár. The result is a movie that's neither fish nor fowl, although it comes terribly close to being foul. Soldier's biggest problem lies in its casting. Accomplished singers were needed for the songs, and it certainly has them in Nelson Eddy and Rise Stevens. Both are in glorious voice, and there is a thrill in hearing the gorgeous sounds the two make, separately and together. But the pair are miscast in their "offstage" roles of jealous husband and flirtatious wife. Stevens, looking quite attractive throughout and displaying a certain charm, comes off somewhat the better of the two, although her performance is too surface-oriented and occasionally too self-conscious; there's a difference between a light touch and one that is superficial, and Stevens falls into the second category. But much worse is Eddy, who tries extremely hard but is totally at sea. Rather than an insanely jealous man of the world, we get a petulant little boy -- and while that could conceivably be a very interesting variation to explore in another setting, it's not what the role requires. Some of Eddy's work is decidedly painful, and while he is marginally better when he dons a disguise and plays a potential lover, it's still not enough.