"Love Me Tonight" (1932)
“Love Me Tonight” is a 1932 Hollywood pre-code drama musical that was directed by Reuben Mamoulian and starred Maurice Chevalier as himself and Jeanette MacDonald as Princess Jeanette. Prior to this film, Mamoulian had directed three other films and this film was a big improvement from his first film three years earlier, “Applause”. Despite this film being a big improvement, there were still flaws that baffled viewers and other film critics.
Once the film began, viewers immediately recognized some improvements with the sound and the cinematography. This was shown during the opening scenes when the main character, Maurice was walking around town saying hello to random people. During that opening scene, viewers were able to listen clearly to what Maurice was trying to say as well as to get a general understanding about the theme of this film. There were also instances when there were split screens showing Maurice waiting for his train and Jeanette is sitting at home thinking about making a big decision. Though the overall sound quality is a lot better in this film, there were some minor syncing issues between the sound and dialogue when characters were singing. Overall, this was one of the best musicals ever made in the 1930s because Mamoulian was successfully able to combine his musical romance with advanced technology and style.
Although this film may be fun and enjoyable to some viewers, others may find that it’s very redundant to watch. This was because the musical sequences were overused too much and at the same time it felt like the sequences did not fit in the plot, specifically, towards the end. In that end scene, Maurice and Princess Jeanette were having a love affair and everyone in the royal house came out singing about the new information about Maurice, that he was just a tailor. As a viewer, feelings flipped from blank to baffled because it’s unlikely someone would react so obnoxiously to something like that today.
Back in this time, wealthy people used to be more reserved than outgoing as it is today 90 years later. As portrayed in the film, Princess Jeanette was falling in love with Maurice who is a tailor, an occupation that receives less income. In that scene, viewers immediately realized that the lower-class inequality were treated unfairly. In this case, Maurice was so embarrassed about their reaction, so he left.
In 2022, viewers realized that so much has changed with our society and how films are portrayed in the media. It appears that the original intention was to share innovation, joy, and entertainment for 90 minutes. As to an active viewer, they may see this as a film as unappealing because there is nothing to take away from the storyline other than passive viewing. Since this film had some Pre-Code content, a 1934 re-release version was cut down by eight minutes due to a scene having explicit content where a character was wearing a negligee that was too revealing to viewers. As of today, film historians are still trying to find the cut scene, but it is presumed to be lost as of right now.