La veuve joyeuse (1934)

105 mins | Romance | 1934

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HISTORY

The onscreen credits for this French version of the 1934 film The Merry Widow , which was also directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starred Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, were taken from a studio cutting continuity. La veuve joyeuse was produced simultaneously with the English version. According to a 19 Jun 1934 Var news item, four versions of the film were being shot simultaneously by director Ernst Lubitsch for American, French, English and Belgian markets. The article states that while only two languages, French and English, were being used, certain scenes in the picture were being "emphasized for the English speaking audiences and others played down for foreign ... More Less

The onscreen credits for this French version of the 1934 film The Merry Widow , which was also directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starred Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, were taken from a studio cutting continuity. La veuve joyeuse was produced simultaneously with the English version. According to a 19 Jun 1934 Var news item, four versions of the film were being shot simultaneously by director Ernst Lubitsch for American, French, English and Belgian markets. The article states that while only two languages, French and English, were being used, certain scenes in the picture were being "emphasized for the English speaking audiences and others played down for foreign consumption." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Variety
19 Jun 34
p. 2.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Ernst Lubitsch Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
Mise en scène [Dir]
WRITERS
Scénario de [Scr]
Scénario de [Scr]
Version française de [French version by]
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photographie de [Photog]
ART DIRECTORS
Décorateur [Art dir]
Associé [Assoc]
Associé [Assoc]
FILM EDITOR
Montage de [Ed]
COSTUMES
Robes de Mlle. MacDonald dessinées par [Miss MacDo
Costumes de [Ward]
MUSIC
Adaptation musicale de [Mus adpt]
Lyrics de [Lyr]
SOUND
Ingénieur du son [Sd eng]
DANCE
Chorographie [Choreog]
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the operetta Die lustige Witwe music by Franz Lehar, book and lyrics by Victor Leon and Leo Stein (Vienna, 28 Dec 1905).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Merry Widow
Release Date:
1934
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
105
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
French
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

[The following plot summary is based on the English-language version of this film, The Merry Widow ; character names refer to that version.] In 1885, in the tiny European kingdom of Marshovia, playboy Count Danilo, the captain of the royal guard, admires the veiled rich widow Sonia during a military parade and later slips into her gardens to woo her. Obeying a Marshovian edict that stipulates that widows must always wear veils in public, the surprised Sonia covers her face before Danilo sees her and, in spite of his begging, refuses to lift it. Sonia then firmly rejects Danilo's deft flirtations but, over the next few days, is filled with confused thoughts about him. Unable to deal with her emotions, Sonia declares her one-year Marshovian widowhood over and moves to Paris. Because Sonia owns fifty-two percent of every cow in Marshovia and therefore controls the economy, her departure alarms the king, Achmed II, who frantically confers with his wife, Queen Dolores, about possible local suitors for the widow. After Dolores vetoes all of his suggested suitors, Achmed catches the queen entertaining Danilo in her bedroom. As punishment for his philandering, Achmed orders Danilo to go to Paris and marry Sonia. Before reporting to the Marshovian embassy for further instructions, Danilo decides to visit Maxim's, a favorite cabaret where all of the can-can dancers know and adore him. As Danilo leaves his rooms, Sonia, his neighbor, sees him and, abandoning her horde of insincere suitors, follows him to Maxim's. There Danilo runs into the bumbling Ambassador Popoff, who relates his "top secret" plan of ensnaring the coveted widow during the next night's embassy ball. ... +


[The following plot summary is based on the English-language version of this film, The Merry Widow ; character names refer to that version.] In 1885, in the tiny European kingdom of Marshovia, playboy Count Danilo, the captain of the royal guard, admires the veiled rich widow Sonia during a military parade and later slips into her gardens to woo her. Obeying a Marshovian edict that stipulates that widows must always wear veils in public, the surprised Sonia covers her face before Danilo sees her and, in spite of his begging, refuses to lift it. Sonia then firmly rejects Danilo's deft flirtations but, over the next few days, is filled with confused thoughts about him. Unable to deal with her emotions, Sonia declares her one-year Marshovian widowhood over and moves to Paris. Because Sonia owns fifty-two percent of every cow in Marshovia and therefore controls the economy, her departure alarms the king, Achmed II, who frantically confers with his wife, Queen Dolores, about possible local suitors for the widow. After Dolores vetoes all of his suggested suitors, Achmed catches the queen entertaining Danilo in her bedroom. As punishment for his philandering, Achmed orders Danilo to go to Paris and marry Sonia. Before reporting to the Marshovian embassy for further instructions, Danilo decides to visit Maxim's, a favorite cabaret where all of the can-can dancers know and adore him. As Danilo leaves his rooms, Sonia, his neighbor, sees him and, abandoning her horde of insincere suitors, follows him to Maxim's. There Danilo runs into the bumbling Ambassador Popoff, who relates his "top secret" plan of ensnaring the coveted widow during the next night's embassy ball. When Sonia arrives at Maxim's, she is mistaken for a cabaret "girl" and is engaged by the unsuspecting Danilo. Irritated by Danilo's casual romantic attitudes, Sonia, who calls herself Fifi, flirts with various men in front of the count and laughs at his jealous indignation. In one of Maxim's private dining rooms, Sonia then drives Danilo to distraction by acting seductive and indifferent in turn. However, when Danilo confesses to her that he prefers cabaret girls because they never ask about "tomorrow," Sonia reveals that she is a "lady" and leaves in a wounded huff. Devastated by Sonia's exit, Danilo fails to show up at the embassy ball as expected and is found by Mishka, his orderly, in a drunken stupor at Maxim's. In his intoxicated state, Danilo reveals his diplomatic mission to the Maxim's women and is dragged to the ball under protest. After Popoff threatens to court-martial him if he refuses to woo the widow, the lovesick Danilo prepares to do his duty and meet Sonia. When Danilo discovers that Sonia and Fifi are one in the same, he is overjoyed but covers his feelings when she coolly rebuffs him. Eventually Danilo convinces Sonia of his sincere desire to give up his playboy ways and marry. Danilo's victory is short-lived, however, when Sonia overhears Popoff telling Danilo that, because the Marchovian newspapers are about to print a story exposing the marriage scheme, he must wed Sonia that night. Although Danilo refuses to participate further in the scheme and is put on trial for treason in Marchovia, Sonia continues to condemn him as a cold-blooded womanizer. Shortly before his execution is to take place, however, Sonia visits Danilo in jail, and while aware that Popoff is still conniving to bring them together, the couple finally gives in to love and embraces. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.