Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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Entertaining enough but it has been done better.
"Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life" is a song used to great effect in the classic comedy Young Frankenstein (1974) which clearly intends to put it's ridiculously cheery and glib lyrics to ironic use. This 1935 Jeanette MacDonald vehicle does not take anything in the lyrics of the song to be anything less than the honest truth and this makes the film feel like a parody of the sort of entertainment that would become endorsed by the Catholic Legion of Decency just a few years later. I did find the film difficult to take seriously as while it is a ‘comedy' it features none of the subversion of Ernst Lubitsch, a frequent collaborator of MacDonald's, and was altogether silly and pointless.
Spoilt Princess Marie of France, Jeanette MacDonald, decides that she does not want to go through with an arranged marriage to the older Don Carlos de Braganza, Walter Kingsford. She escapes by pretending to be a poor servant "Marietta" and boards a ship to New Orleans, Louisiana as a ‘comfort girl' along with a group of other poor maids and servants. She falls in love with the ship's captain Richard Warrington, Nelson Eddy, while on board but his brutish behavior and her entitlement keep them apart. She discovers herself when she arrives in New Orleans and begins working as a singer in a local club but the authorities have started searching for the princess and so she is forced to hide. It is at this point in time that Warrington realizes that he is deeply in love with her and arrives at the club to romance her into spending the rest of her life with him. The two spend a brief amount of time together as a couple before she is captured by the employees of her father and forced to return to her miserable life.
MacDonald proves that she really struggles without a strong supporting cast behind her as while Elsa Lanchester does her best with a shamefully underwritten role she does not match up to Maurice Chevalier or Clark Gable. She paired with Eddy in several other films, this is supposedly one of their weaker efforts, but I am surprised that audiences lapped them up as a pairing because to me the two of them seemed to lack chemistry and felt vaguely lost when on screen together. Chevalier was not a great actor by any stretch of the imagination but he did have a goofy charm that complemented MacDonald in her prim young wife roles. There was none of that joy in the scenes between Eddy and MacDonald as you do not believe that they love each other or even hate each other but that they feel only a mild apathy for their love interest. Their bond was intended to be the heart of the story and propel the plot forward but I would rather have them played by two actors with an authentic connection who have not been cast based on their singing ability or their physical appearance.
The musical numbers in the film, presumably the selling point, drop in out of nowhere as when something to do with the story would appear to start happening we find ourselves staring into MacDonald's rigid face and cold eyes. She lacks the passion that she possessed in One Hour with You (1932) here as the film adopts the same style as a Deanna Durbin vehicle and a close up shot of MacDonald will be stubbornly held in place while she grunts out a song. We are not given any sense of her performing as our experience of the musical numbers is limited to hearing her voice and seeing her face which is more often than not blank. I needed some of the cute little gestures that made her so lively and charming in other films or at least I needed her to stop looking like a prisoner as while she belts out lyrics about being over the moon but seems like she is anything but.
MacDonald deserves her reputation as a singer and to some degree an actress from her collaborations with Chevalier alone but she does not have enough star power to carry a film alone and that is why this film does not become one of the great musicals of the 1930s.
Yes, Naughty Marietta is quite dated in its quaint opera numbers and in that regard it is never as timeless as it could have been with regular music. But still, it is a very solid flick which is adventurous, quite fun to follow and featuring two likable turns from Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. It did not deserve its Oscar nomination, but it's an underrated film in its own right.
The best musical romance movie ever made! With the best movie song ever sung: Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life!
Plot serves only as a vehicle for the extraordinary Jeanette MacDonald/Nelson Eddy music. Anyone sitting through this movie would leave the theatre feeling better. Jeannette McDonald and Nelson Eddy were the musical stars of their day, and when they recorded a song -- be it from Irving Berlin or Rogers and Hart -- it became an instant hit nationwide. Jeannette McDonald's presence is electric and almost comes out of the screen, something few actors can do. You hear their voices singing and you instantly light up: it's upbeat, it's happy. it's taking you to a place you've never been before.
McDonald and Eddy are still the "team" that has never been rivaled. If MGM had ever captured the entirety of what was there, or put McDonald in a film worthy of her talents, we would have another classic on the scale of "Oz".
The first pairing of Jeanette MacDonald & Nelson Eddy is not their best, but the fine supporting cast (including Frank Morgan & Elsa Lanchester) and some lovely tunes ("Italian Street Song," "Tramp Tramp Tramp" and "Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life") make it memorable.
So memorable that I had to be reminded that I saw it. Dated whimsy.
Super irritating musical that finds Jeanette MacDonald as a bride who escapes an arranged marriage and finds herself with other bridesmaids. They are then captured by pirates and what do you know, she falls in love with one of them (Nelson Eddy). Many songs that are the equivalent to the sound of an endless line of squeaking shrews that are begging for food, which essentially means annoying. No one comes out looking good after this one. The first of MacDonald/Eddy musicals and a possible foreshadowing of more poor musicals to come (if I decide to watch them which I probably to will for the sake of doing so). Ranks among the worst of movies to be nominated for Best Picture.
not the right clip :(
Cute and entertaining. Some of the music was a little over the top for me, but clearly of the time. Loved seeing a portrayal of early New Orleans.