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4.7 out of 5 stars
Naughty Marietta
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This movie is a pure delight. When it was released in 1935, it was not a question of, "Have you seen 'Naughty Maritta'?". It was, "How many times have you seen "Naughty Marietta"? What is simply amazing about this film is that it is in no way dated. And it is definitely not a piece of "fluff". The killing between the pirates and the mercenaries is quite graphic. The love interest is kept to a homurous but touching level. Simply a "must see" film. And the singing, of course, is wonderful.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2002
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
This classic piece of cinema literature is fun to study and an absolute must for re-runs. It's the first movie that launched a team of singers that are historical giants of the early screen. The music of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald is stirring, their lines are witty and fresh, and they have chemistry. From costuming to scenery backdrops, to the phenomenal operatic voices, this one is a must see! Naughtie Marietta is sure to delight.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
One of the two greatest "operetta" films (MAYTIME being THE greatest) ever made. Jeanette - and the entire production - is radiant and, of course, the singing is both fun and magnificent at the same time, culminating in that most glorious moment at the Governor's ball. Simply perfect.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Nelson Eddy was so wooden he didn't dare get too close to fire. Nelson Eddy was so lacking in expression that mannequins grew alarmed. But Nelson Eddy had two saving graces. One, he could sing the hell out of a song. And, two, he mystifyingly was able to drum up strong chemistry with the gorgeous Jeanette MacDonald. Eddy and MacDonald, in the 1930s, were celebrated as America's "Singing Sweethearts." NAUGHTY MARIETTA, a box office smash in 1935, was when they first paired up, after which the movie audience clamored for more. Somewhere, Maurice Chevalier may have been sulking. Or not. He and Jeanette MacDonald famously never got along. It's his loss.

NAUGHTY MARIETTA isn't as giddy or, frankly, as suggestive as MacDonald's previous operettas LOVE ME TONIGHT and THE MERRY WIDOW. Nelson Eddy for sure didn't embody good-natured salaciousness quite like Maurice Chevalier did. The closest thing we get to something racy is when Jeanette MacDonald's character, newly arrived to New Orleans, fabricates a scandalous past to dissuade prospective husbands. The word "prostitute" isn't applied, but we all get the drift. We're all worldly folks here.

But we're jumping ahead some. The story is set in the 18th century. MacDonald plays Princess Marie de Namours de la Bonfain, beloved by her people in France, because she's friendly and welcoming and because she sings like an angel. But when threatened with an arranged marriage to a simpering old Spanish duke, the princess swaps places with her maid, Marietta Franini, who is on her way to Louisiana on a bridal ship. The princess willingly poses as a mail order bride (or, to be more exact, a casquette girl).

A raid by a pirate crew later, and a rescue by impudent mercenary soldier Captain Warrington later, and "Marietta" lands in New Orleans, where she contrives that sordid history. Not that this matters one whit to Captain Warrington. He's very intrigued. And even though the princess regards Warrington as a "rude, crude Colonial," she's reluctantly impressed with his swaggering ways. It doesn't hurt that Warrington can sing up a storm himself. Not the shy sort, he dubs himself the "mad mudlark of the Mississippi." Ah, sweet mystery of life... drawing two incompatible people together.

Back in an era in which actors had to be truly multi-faceted, the ability to carry a tune (or at least fake it) was fairly common in one's repertoire. Except that Eddy and MacDonald were the real deal. His ringing baritone. Her exquisite soprano. I understand that today's kids (with their jazz and speakeasies) aren't hip to operettas and the kind of music what Victor Herbert brung. But, me, I really get a kick out of these songs, or some of them anyway. I'm an old school kind of guy, though. And, actually, the most touted song in this film - "Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life" - isn't my favorite of the bunch. I much prefer "Chansonette" (and how a new group of singers would greet MacDonald as she climbed each new flight of stairs), "Italian Street Song" (and that ridiculously high note she hits and maintains), and even "Ship Ahoy," the playful tune MacDonald sings at the marionette theater. And I really, really enjoyed "The Owl and the Polecat," one of them rollicking backwoods mountain songs which also showcases the richness of Eddy's baritone.

I can't exactly pinpoint what it is about MacDonald and Eddy. Maybe it's because she's so refined and he's such a preening alpha male that they couldn't help but create this opposites attract synergy. Whatever it was, it worked. It may've ultimately come down to that they both could sing the hell out of a song. Thankfully, MacDonald was a capable actress and handily compensated for Eddy's stiffness. NAUGHTY MARIETTA also gets good comic support from Frank Morgan (without his trademark mustache) as the bewildered governor of New Orleans and from Elsa Manchester who plays his suspicious wife. No sweet mystery of life for these two, just the sour certainty of a stuck-in-a-rut marriage. But they'll make you laugh.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
First saw this film when I was 13, on late night tv. I'm 51....and I never get tired of watching it. It's wonderful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
The only possible improvement that could be made to this movie would be to add closed captioning for those of us who are hearing impaired or deaf. Yes, deaf and hearing impaired folks like me love music! And, if we can read the captioned words, we can sing along, or just fall in love all over again with Janette and Nelson and not miss a single word they say.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2007
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
I grew up with Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. Although, I know of no other person who isn't related to me who has seen them. Naughty Marietta is by far my favorite. The music is memorable and charming, and the romance is unforgettable. They sure don't make 'em like they used to.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2013
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
When I was a little girl my mother recorded this off the television and I watched it to death. I just love this film and I am glad to have finally tracked it down again.

Some minor spoilers follow: Jeanette MacDonald is delightful as the princess who sails to the new world (New Orleans) to escape her father (the King of France) and uncle's plans to marry her off into a politically expedient marriage to the aged Don Carlos from Spain. Never guessing that she might find love, and in disguise as scullery maid "Marietta", the princess shows her mettle when faced with pirates, and holds her own against the dashing, albeit arrogant, Captain Warrington (Nelson Eddy) of the local militia. At times the dialogue between the two is almost as fast-paced and funny as the dialogue from the later classic screwball comedies, and the chemistry between the two leads is wonderful to watch. When "Marietta" arrives in New Orleans, she has to escape marriage again, and suggests that she is a lady who wishes to be "charming" without getting married (AKA a prostitute ... although I didn't quite understand this when I first saw it at about 8 years old), providing the town with some gossip, the local men with a target for their unwanted (and humorous) attention, and Captain Warrington with a reason for remaining interested in her. One thing leads to another, and before we know it the two leads are in love. Lots of excellent singing, a fantastic duet of the iconic Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy song "Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life", some slightly contrived incidences later, and we have a very happy ending. If any of this sounds even remotely great to you, I recommend that you watch this wonderful film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
What story that begins in Paris as a bad tragi-comedy and ends up in Louisiana as an absolute triumph of love and music can only be attributed to the genius of the American genre we all know as musical comedy. This 1935 movie shows the reunion of two well-known stars of the vocal cords Olympiads, Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, pairing for the first time. And, as the French say, "Pour un coup d'essai, c'est un coup de maître". The quality of the lyrics allied to that of the music and the talent of the two interpreters make for an unforgettable experience for the ears and the heart of the spectator. Like an operetta, the film is full of over-dressed aristocrats. The seriousness of the situation the heroine finds herself in when she leaves for French Louisina (this is the 18th century) without any preparation, and ends up penniless in the bayou is only alleviated by the goodwill demontrated by her lover-to-be and his friend the Governor (a delightful Frank Morgan). You have to wait until the second half of the movie to hear - at last! - the wonderful songs that make it a real musical showstopper, but the waiting is really worth for. The movie ends in a crescendo when you chance to hear two of the most beautiful songs - and they are incredibly well interpreted - which have been recorded on celluloid. You'll vibrate with an open mouth when you hear them blasted one after the other at the very end of the movie. No wonder the 1935 reviews were so full of superlatives. In a word, this musical film is a must.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2011
Format: DVD
Like other fans, I was so excited for this film to be released on DVD. I pre-ordered it from TCM.com and watched it twice the same day it was delivered! I'm an faithful fan of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy and the transfer from VHS to DVD is a very clear and crisp image.
Jeanette MacDonald plays a princess who is fleeing from her homeland, France; on her way to New Orleans, pirates take over the ship she is on and Captain Richard Warrington, Nelson Eddy, saves the day.
It's a little pricey but well worth the buy, you won't regret buying it!!
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