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Love Me Tonight

4.7 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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(Nov 25, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Love Me Tonight is a madcap musical tour de force of infectious melody, effortless vivacity and ceaseless invention from first frame to last. Building on a foundations of songs by Rodgers and Hard ("Babes In Arms", "Pal Joey"), director Rouben Mamoulian (Applause) shepherds Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette Macdonald through an exuberant romp that film maven Leslie Haliwell declared, "the most fluently cinematic comedy musical ever made." Carefree tailor Maurice Chevalier leaves a backlot Paris where music literally radiates from every shop, sidewalk and boudoir to collect on a past due bill at a recalcitrant aristocratic client's family chateau. Mistaken for royalty, Maurice runs a gauntlet of lunatic blue-bloods, including love-happy Myrna Loy and screwball icon Charlie Ruggles. But it is Princess Jeanette MacDonald's closely guarded heart that Maurice desires and it will take every ounce of his ingenious pluck to woo her without revealing his well-meaning romantic deception. Rouben Mamoulian nimbly packs Love Me Tonight with enough high-spirited cinematic invention to fill a dozen films. Using everything from zoom lenses to slow motion (both unheard of in 30's Hollywood), Mamoulian erased the lines that defined the musical genre, breaking rules that were still being established. Bravura musical performances, cheeky pre-code innuendo and astoundingly modern filmic touches are blended into a show stopping movie confection decades ahead of its time. Available for the first time on DVD, Love Me Tonight is an assuredly spontaneous musical milestone of sophisticated absurdity and risqu+ª enchantment.

The best movie musical you've never heard of is Love Me Tonight, a deliciously clever 1932 Rodgers and Hart romp. The film opens with a tour de force, as the rhythmic sounds of a Paris morning morph into music and we meet a humble tailor (Maurice Chevalier) whose future looks bright. At least he thinks so. And then the great song "Isn't It Romantic?" kicks in, introduced by Chevalier but immediately handed off to client, cab driver, and a series of tune-carriers who finally bring the catchy melody to a dreamy princess (Jeannette MacDonald). It's probably the giddiest sequence in a very fun film, and "Isn't It Romantic?" would continue popping up in Paramount movies for years (Billy Wilder was especially partial to it). The humble tailor must travel to the princess's chateau to collect a bill from family playboy Charlie Ruggles, which puts Chevalier in pleasant proximity to MacDonald and saucy Myrna Loy. It also brings forth more Rodgers and Hart goodies: the classic "Lover" (a great romantic waltz played here as a lark), "Mimi," and the title song. Rouben Mamoulian directed, in the full stride of his early-sound creativity (this was just after his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), using a variety of effects that look positively New Wave. Chevalier and MacDonald are a delight together (by all means see them in The Love Parade and One Hour with You, too), and Charlie Butterworth has some glorious moments as a prospective MacDonald suitor. Also worth the price of admission: the spectacle of crusty character actor C. Aubrey Smith singing. --Robert Horton

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Charles Ruggles, Charles Butterworth, Myrna Loy
  • Directors: Rouben Mamoulian
  • Writers: George Marion Jr., Léopold Marchand, Paul Armont, Samuel Hoffenstein, Waldemar Young
  • Producers: Rouben Mamoulian
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Kino Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 25, 2003
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000UX4V2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,927 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Love Me Tonight" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Fernando Silva on February 15, 2004
Format: DVD
Frankly...upon buying this dvd, I had high hopes...but they were all surpassed by the material...I only had seen the young (well not so young, because he arrived to Hollywood in 1929, when he was over forty years old) Maurice Chevalier in Lubitsch's marvelous "The Smiling Lieutenant" (1931) and "The Merry Widow" (1934), both great landmark films & big achievements.... but "Love Me Tonight" is THE "Gem" of "The Crown's Jewels."
This must be the greatest pairing of Chevalier and MacDonald... Having not seen either "The Love Parade" (1929) nor "One Hour With You" (1932), I cannot say it 100% sure...but I'm pretty sure anyway.
I feel that if it wasn't for this musical, there wouldn't be a "Gigi", "My Fair Lady", "The Harvey Girls", "Easter Parade"...or whatever...this one is the grandparent of all movie musicals...either transferred from Broadway or's just perfect. A masterpiece by the great Rouben Mamoulian.
I even must say, hardly enough, that in my innermost self...I feel this even tops other Pre-Code all-time-fave of mine (which is not a musical) from the same year (1932), "Trouble in Paradise", Lubitsch's masterpiece.
I was amazed by the Pre-Code dialogue & situations, the finesse of the screenplay treatment, the witty dialogues, the fantastic numbers by Chevalier, MacDonald, et al: "Isn't it Romantic", "Lover", "Mimi", "I'm an Apache", the innovative opening sequence: "The Song of Paree", "Love Me Tonight"...Really, when I read again on the dvd's package back that Leslie Halliwell said about it: "The most fluently cinematic comedy musical ever made"...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Rouben Mamoulian's LOVE ME TONIGHT is the finest impersonation of Ernst Lubitsch in the history of Hollywood. It helped that he borrowed two of Lubitsch's most widely used stars. Jeanette MacDonald had appeared in Lubitsch's MONTE CARLO in 1930 (with the marvelous Jack Buchanan, who is best know for his great role in THE BAND WAGON) and Maurice Chevalier had appeared in 1931's THE SMILING LIEUTENANT, and the appeared together in THE LOVE PARADE of 1929 and ONE HOUR WITH YOU earlier in 1932 (they would appear together again in Lubitsch's superb THE MERRY WIDOW in 1934 in one of the last great comedies before the Code). If Mamoulian doesn't quite match Lubitsch in the latter's unsurpassed magic with the camera, he nonetheless more than equals him in his sense of play, of class conflict, and impish sense of mischief.
But in one regard he completely surpasses Lubitsch: Mamoulian was able to work with songs the likes of which Lubitsch was never able to. The film is filled with great songs by Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart. The score is so good that songs that would normally be the finest in a musical, like "Mimi" and "Love Me Tonight" are completely overshadowed by two of the greatest songs that the legendary team wrong: the waltz-like "Lover" (sung by Jeanette MacDonald in a carriage) and the almost epic "Isn't It Romantic?" Rogers was one of the greatest composers the American stage or cinema has seen, but as fine as his music is in these two songs, Hart just might be a tad better. The lyrics are simply astonishing. Take these from "Lover," which are closer to poetry than to mere song lyrics: Lover, when I'm near you/ And I hear you speak my name/ Softly, in my ear you/ Breathe a flame.
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Format: DVD
Long absent from home video titles, 1932's LOVE ME TONIGHT has finally been released on dvd in all of its glory - and a wonderfully pristine print it is too! There are enough superlatives already published about this film and its creators, director Rouben Mamoulian and Rogers & Hart, that I don't need to think up new ones - Leonard Maltin calls it simply "one of the best musicals ever made" - but it's worth observing that Hollywood never made another musical even remotely like it until the recent CHICAGO. (OK, let's credit 1933's HALLELUJAH I'M A BUM, a notorious flop.)
Even in some of our most beloved musicals - such as SINGIN' IN THE RAIN - let's admit it, the story stops dead in its tracks to perform a musical number. At best, the number is usually redundant of information already provided to the viewer. Rogers and Hart told LOVE ME TONIGHT's story through its musical numbers, a seemingly obvious approach that films have steadfastly ignored all these decades except for CHICAGO where LMT's approach seems to have been rediscovered. Perhaps the quality that distinguishes LMT from later and better-known musicals is its lack of pretension, indeed, its playfulness. Despite the film's imagination and continual inventiveness, it is never impressed with itself (oh, that the "great" MGM musicals of the 1950s had this quality!).
The only problems I found are minor and not the fault of the film itself. There seems to be a slight rumble on the soundtrack when the scene is in silence, most notably in the famous opening sequence of Paris at dawn. I also wondered why some slight speckling was not removed from the opening titles. These two items aside, Kino Video did a great job and provided some great supplemental material including a thoughtful essay by Miles Kreuger. If you have any interest in movie musicals, LMT is "must" viewing!
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