Love Me Tonight (1932) Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Love Me Tonight is terrific little musical-comedy film starring the French actor, Maurice Chevalier (who I will forever associate with the goofy “smiling lieutenant” character from his role in Ernst Lubitsch’s picture). It features a collection of classic American standards, like “Isn’t It Romantic” and other American jazz standards from composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Lorenz Hart (Rodgers & Hart).
While I am not typically a great fan of Hollywood musicals, this film was enjoyable. It is simple, though predictable, but it is also innovative. In particular the scenes where multiple characters are singing songs in different locations (like “Lover”) took some unique skills when splicing film and sound together in the editing room.
The story is somewhat loosely based on a French play called Le Tailleur au château (“The tailor at the castle”). The comical story is about a Parisian tailor. A family of wealthy aristocrats owes him money for his work so he travels to their castle, but along the way he meets the single, widowed daughter who has been unable to find herself a suitor. When he arrives at the castle, he is introduced as a “baron” and their romance blossoms, until he finally reveals the truth: he is a mere tailor. He takes a train back to Paris in shame, but of course, she realizes her true feelings and the two lovers embrace at the end.