Love Me Tonight (1932)

Genres - Comedy, Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Romance, Operetta  |   Release Date - Aug 18, 1932 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 104 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Lucia Bozzola

One of the most technically accomplished early sound musicals, Rouben Mamoulian's Love Me Tonight (1932) seamlessly and imaginatively blends sound and image, moving beyond the stagy style of the first movie musicals. Rather than singling out song performances, as in backstage musicals, the classic score by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, including "Mimi" and "Lover", is gracefully integrated into the plot. "Isn't It Romantic" becomes a tour de force of foreshadowing, as the song moves verse by verse from Maurice Chevalier's opening lines in Paris, to singing soldiers and travelers outside the city, to Chevalier's soon-to-be love interest Jeanette MacDonald at a country estate. The rhythmic street sounds in the opening Paris sequence, the precise cuts in "The Sonofagun Is Nothing But a Tailor," the slow-motion fox hunt, and a parody of Sergei Eisenstein's editing style further attest to Mamoulian's technical acuity. With its cross-class fairy tale love story tempered by Ernst Lubitsch-style, pre-Production Code sophisticated comedy, and a supporting cast including Myrna Loy as a nymphomaniac and Charles Butterworth as a deadpan noble, Love Me Tonight's non-musical content matches the charm of its songs, making it one of the best musicals of the 1930s.