Monte Carlo (1930)

Genres - Comedy, Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy, Sophisticated Comedy  |   Release Date - Aug 27, 1930 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Monte Carlo was intended to build upon the success of the earlier Jeanette MacDonald-Ernst Lubitsch collaboration, the delightful Love Parade. Unfortunately, although it has one moment that is perhaps better than any isolated moment in the earlier film, Monte Carlo doesn't live up to its promise. Much of the problem is with co-star Jack Buchanan, who simply does not partner MacDonald as well as Maurice Chevalier did in Parade. He doesn't have the power needed to keep pace with MacDonald, especially at this point in her career, and there's a smugness to his personality that is annoying. Lubitsch has done his usual, dependable job of supplying the film with a great number of subtle, sly winks and of keeping the storytelling interesting, but the story itself is too old hat to succeed without a more consistently witty and involving script. Richard Whiting and W. Franke Harling's score is quite good, however, with "Whatever It Is, It's Grand" and the marvelous "Beyond the Blue Horizon" exceptional. The latter provides the film's highpoint, as part of the magnificent wedding sequence that opens the film. Lubitsch builds the number, matching the sound and movement of the train to the song to create a genuinely thrilling number. Had the rest of the film lived up to this terrific opening section, Monte Carlo might have been a classic rather than a moderately entertaining trifle.