directed by: Ernst Lubitsch


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Submitted by Charles O'Brien on 2006-07-21

Charles O'Brien's comment:
Another Lubitsch-directed operetta from Paramount, this time featuring Jeannette MacDonald with the British singer Jack Buchanan. Buchanan plays a Chevalier-like libertine, but comes across as a bit callow and creepy, unlike Chevalier, who somehow pulls off this kind of role remarkably well. I've seen maybe six Lubitsch films from 1929-1933 and this one impresses me as the most rapidly cut. Could this have something to do with the casting, as if Lubitsch had decided that the long-take approach that worked well with Chevalier were less viable with Buchanan? 0.00: wedding ring; preparations for the ceremony for the marriage of Duke Otto and Countess Helena (Jeanette MacDonald); celebrants gather outside the church as an offscreen chorus is heard; Otto discovers that Helena has bolted; Otto addresses the crowd, promising that the wedding will take place at some point in the future; Otto sings "she'll love me and like it," joined by a chorus; 5.50: Helena boards a railroad car, and chats with her maid (Zazu Pitts) about her escape from Otto; Helena decides to buy from the conductor two tickets to Monte Carlo; 8.40: a fifteen-to-twenty second train montage, with musical accompaniment, mutates into a song sung by Helena, "Beyond the Blue Horizon"; 11.20: Monte Carlo station; a Charlie Ruggles look-a-like and Rudolf (Jack Buchanan); 15.20: Helena at the gambling table; Helena and her maid in their hotel room, where she receives a telegram from Rudolf; at 20.00 Rudolf calls Helena and sings to her over the phone, and she sings back, thus making the song into a duet "Give Me a Moment's Peace"(we see Helena holding the phone, and reacting to Rudolf's offscreen voice), the song ending at 23.25: Rudolf is in the park, when at 24.20 he briefly sings the tune "Give Me a Moment's Peace"; 27.10: Rudolf, a hair-dresser colleage, and the Ruggles look-a-like sing "Trimmin' the Women"; 29.30: Otto boards the train to find Helena; Rudolf visits Helena; 40.00: Rudy (as Helena now refers to him) sings a Spanish-flavoured flamenco tune; 42.30: Rudy talks to his pal, the Ruggles look-a-like, and then meets with Helena; 46.30: Otto sings to Helena, ending at 48.00, and then, Helena and Rudy sing a duet; Helena and Rudy dress up, with Rudy playing the role of the Count; 51.05: Helena and Rudy sing another duet, "Our Way," with the music continuing after the singing stops, until 55.20: a scene in the casino; one of the film's themes is heard via the chimes of the clock, and then the same tune continues as underscoring, with Helena returning to her room to speak with her maid, the music ending at 58.10: a scene featuring Rudy is crosscut with one featuring Helena, underscored by the film's theme; 61.10: Rudy sings, while Helena hides key; Helena sings a response to Rudy, converting his tune into a duet; 63.40: the musical clock again; Rudy splits from Helena; 71.00: Helena looks for Rudy; 73.05: Otto waits for Helena, and is told to look for her at the opera; placard announcing performance of M. Beaucaire; aria is sung by stage performer; Helena arrives to sit with Otto, who explains to her the opera's plot, which mirrors her evolving relation with Rudy, as the opera's music is heard offscreen; Helena and Rudy meet in hallway and talk; 87.00 a fifteen-second train montage accompanies the musical lead-in to the film's final singing performance, a duet on the train between Helena and Rudy, with the music continuing through the title "the end."

Number of shots:
MSL 4.5 7.2 5
StDev 15.5 17.6 0
Min 0.1 0.1 5
Max 116.2 105.2 5
CV 1.48 1.34 0

Step: Vertical resolution: Height:
Degree of the trendline: Moving average : Color code?

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