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  • The Merry Widow (1934)
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The Merry Widow (1934)

47 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Region: All Regions
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000B6WXMG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,786 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn Thomas on June 2, 2007
Format: DVD
I bought this DVD with trepidation after seeing the reviews on the Brazilian release of this film. However, I was wonderfully surprised: The sound and picture quality, while not perfect (come on, it was filmed in the 30s!), are passable, and you can actually hear the whole film.

If you are a purist when it comes to original stories, this is not for you. If you think Jeannette MacDonald is shrill, or can't sing, this is definitely not for you! However, for those of us who love Miss MacDonald, Maurice Chevalier, and the campy, smarmy musicals of filmdom's early days, this is a keeper.

The story revolves around Count Danilo and Madam Sonia. Sonia, the richest woman in Marshovia (She's into every cow in the country for 52%!), tires of dower widowhood and decides to go to Paris. In order to avoid national bankruptcy should the lovely widow marry a foreigner, the king of Marshovia sends Danilo to Paris to woo and win Sonia and bring her back home. From there, you have mistaken identities and everything else that makes movies like this so much fun.

The ending is ridiculously stupid to those that prefer "gritty realism", but is a true joy to those that love entertainment for entertainment's sake. This movie is a gem that is fun, light, airy and adorable. If you need realism or some kind of social political correctness in order to be entertained, do the rest of us a favor and don't watch this. We don't need to be told there is no point to this film, we already know--that's why we love it!
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 2, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This utterly delightful film stands as the ultimate condemnation for the shameful censorship that the Hays office would soon inflict on the movies. THE MERRY WIDOW was one of the very last Pre-Code films to be released before Hollywood was forced to mute all sexuality, prove in every film that crime didn't pay, and purify all on screen language of all improprieties. After 1934, all sex was decidedly nonsexual, married couples always slept in twin beds (full sized beds were banned as being too suggestive), criminals died or were arrested by the end of each gangster film, and all forms of naughtiness were ejected from the movies.
THE MERRY WIDOW would never have passed muster for the Hays office. Edward Everett Horton and Maurice Chevalier embrace and are assumed to be a gay couple by a police officer. One of the most important scenes in the film takes place in a brothel (Maxim's), and Jeanette MacDonald pretends to be a courtesan. The movie is laced with suggestive jokes and sexual interplay. And not only is there a king sized bed in the king and queen's bedroom, Chevalier and MacDonald make out on a day bed reserved for trysts between prostitutes and customers in Maxim's.
None of this would, however, rise above merely sociological interest except for the deft direction of Ernst Lubitsch. Like many of his best films, THE MERRY WIDOW is very nearly a textbook on how to construct a movie. Lubitsch did so many things so well, that it is difficult to focus on any one aspect of his virtuosity. No other comedic director in the history of cinema possessed his mastery of filmmaking. One could argue, in fact, that he and Hitchcock were the greatest masters of cinematic technique in the history of American cinema.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By RAUL DASILVA on July 26, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This is the very best filmed version of Franz Lehar's delighful operetta. The cast is perfectly matched, the music and songs wonderfully rendered. Though black and white, one rapidly begins to see all the true color. This is a charmer from Hollywood's Golden Age that holds up well. Forget the 1952 version, it does not have the vitality of Ernst Lubitch direction, nor does it have a peak Maurice Chevalier nor the lovely Jeanette MacDonald. You will want to watch it many times, as a picker-upper.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Byron Kolln HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 18, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
THE MERRY WIDOW is arguably Jeanette MacDonald's finest film, and is still regarded as one of the greatest musicals ever made by MGM.
The story concerns one widow, Sonia (Jeanette MacDonald), a beautiful young woman who owns 52% of the small kingdom of Marshovia. Sonia lives a life consisting of black dresses, black shoes, black corsets and black veils...even a black dog. Sonia decides to flee to the gay city of Paris, and swaps her dull attire for a new wardrobe, and a new outlook.
The King of Marshovia (Edward Everett Horton) and his flirtatious Queen (Una Merkel) decide to dispatch the handsome Count Danilo (Maurice Chevalier) to Paris in order to woo Sonia and her millions back into Marshovia...but Sonia has a few tricks up her own sleeves!
Filled with the timeless music of Franz Lehar's score, THE MERRY WIDOW is joyously directed by legendary Ernst Lubitsch, and Jeanette MacDonald literally sparkles in designer Adrian's lavish costumes.
Later re-made starring Lana Turner, Fernando Lamas and Una Merkel (refer to my review for this).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Fernando Silva on August 23, 2002
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
In spite of what's been said of the mutual dislike felt by both stars in real life, Chevalier and MacDonald's chemistry onscreen is absolutely undeniable, and certainly here, they're in top form as Count Danilo and Sonia, the not-so-merry-widow of the title. This is the best filmed version of a romantic "Graustarkian" or "Ruritanian" Operetta (which in this case takes place in the Kingdom of "Marshovia") that I've ever seen, thanks mainly to the "Lubitsch touch". Great dialogue, perfectly paced, expertly cast and with some very funny pre-code risqué situations (most notably the scene, at the beginning of the film, between the king, the queen and Count Danilo, in the formers' bedroom, delightful!). Great supporting cast, especially Edward Everett Horton as the ambassador, George Barbier, as the king, and Una Merkel, what a sexy and flirtatious queen!. MacDonald wears some stunning outfits by Adrian. A must for vintage musical lovers.
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