I don't know what kept me away from this movie so long. I'd seen it so many times browsing the shelves at the library, but had no idea who was in it or what it was about. Then I saw The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met, got entranced with baritones all of a sudden (yes, me the tenor fanatic), and decided to see some of Nelson Eddy's movies... the first one was The Phantom of the Opera, which I have reviewed separately, then I saw The Chocolate Soldier and I Married an Angel, which I shall review separately later, and then this one. Besides the fact that Nelson cuts a dashing figure in the spiffy uniform (okay, so the britches ARE a bit weird), I found it an incredibly touching, sweet little story, and also enjoyed all the songs. Coming from me that says a lot, because I am not in the least a musical fan - there are very few musicals I count as favourites. Nelson and Jeannette have the ability to be very spontaneous in dialogue and work very well together, even depsite the fact that Nelson can be rather stiff at times - his singing more than makes up for it. One thing I found particuarly striking was the scene toward the end when Jeannette is singing "Tosca": she is literally cracking up. We can hear what she hears - Nelson's Indian love call - and feel the discord between it and the words she must sing on stage. It reaches a pitch and then she faints. I also felt that for a lightweight piece of "fluff" the character development wasn't half-bad, either - Right from the beginning it's well-established that as far as Jeannette is concerned the entire world revolves around her, so as the movie progresses it's good to see how Jeannette turns from a selfish, slave-driving diva to a sprightly, energetic, loving human being. Not everyone has the opportunity to cross the Canadian mountains with a mountie (unfortunately!), but I'm sure that figuratively there is something like that in each person's life, some backwoods experience that creates real character because of the necessity of facing adversity, learning what sacrifice and love are all about, and that life isn't all "me", and sometimes we have to eat bacon... I found the totem pole dance scene rather amusing as well. I was very into Indians for a long time as a child, and learnt quite a bit about them, so it struck me funny that this tribe had it all - the totem poles of the Pacific Northwest, the feathered headdresses and tipis of the Plains... Still, it was an interesting sequence, despite the fact that it was very 1930's Hollywood and far from authentic. James Stewart's small role as Jeannette's brother was fine as well - it was interesting how he really was only on screen for a few minutes, but all through the film, you were seeing the wanted posters and thinking about him to a point where he was really a main character. I recommend this film very much, along with The Chocolate Soldier, which is another truly delightful musical.
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