Maytime (1937)

132-133 mins | Musical | 26 March 1937

Director:

Robert Z. Leonard

Writer:

Noel Langley

Producer:

Hunt Stromberg

Cinematographer:

Oliver T. Marsh

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

According to contemporary news items, Warner Bros. owned the rights to the Rida Johnson Young, Sigmund Romberg operetta Maytime , but sold them to M-G-M in early 1935. At the time of M-G-M's acquisition of the property, opera singer Grace Moore was announced as the female star, and the picture was being considered for production as M-G-M's first three-strip Techicolor feature. A 30 Mar 1935 news item noted that M-G-M production chief Irving Thalberg had assigned Frances Marion to write the screenplay for Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, however, a 20 Jun 1935 news item again mentioned Moore as the female star, co-starring with Eddy in a James Kevin McGuinness and Richard Schayer story. When production began on 21 Aug 1936, MacDonald and Eddy were the stars. It was announed at that time that shooting had been moved forward three weeks to accomodate MacDonald, who was about to marry actor Gene Raymond. At that time, Edmund Goulding was the director. The wedding was postponed and did not take place until Jun 1937, however. Following Thalberg's death on 13 Sep 1936, filming on Maytime stopped, along with other all other pictures in production on the lot. Maytime resumed production within a few days, but filming again stopped in late Sep. Production did not resume again until 29 Oct when Robert Z. Leonard was named the new director. Although some of the footage shot in Aug and Sep may have been included in the released film, an entirely new script was written and several actors were replaced. Actors listed on the 24 Aug 1936 production chart who ... More Less

According to contemporary news items, Warner Bros. owned the rights to the Rida Johnson Young, Sigmund Romberg operetta Maytime , but sold them to M-G-M in early 1935. At the time of M-G-M's acquisition of the property, opera singer Grace Moore was announced as the female star, and the picture was being considered for production as M-G-M's first three-strip Techicolor feature. A 30 Mar 1935 news item noted that M-G-M production chief Irving Thalberg had assigned Frances Marion to write the screenplay for Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, however, a 20 Jun 1935 news item again mentioned Moore as the female star, co-starring with Eddy in a James Kevin McGuinness and Richard Schayer story. When production began on 21 Aug 1936, MacDonald and Eddy were the stars. It was announed at that time that shooting had been moved forward three weeks to accomodate MacDonald, who was about to marry actor Gene Raymond. At that time, Edmund Goulding was the director. The wedding was postponed and did not take place until Jun 1937, however. Following Thalberg's death on 13 Sep 1936, filming on Maytime stopped, along with other all other pictures in production on the lot. Maytime resumed production within a few days, but filming again stopped in late Sep. Production did not resume again until 29 Oct when Robert Z. Leonard was named the new director. Although some of the footage shot in Aug and Sep may have been included in the released film, an entirely new script was written and several actors were replaced. Actors listed on the 24 Aug 1936 production chart who did not continue on the film when production resumed in Nov included Julie Haydon, Paul Lukas, Frank Morgan, Ted Healy, Stanley Morner and Mary Phillips. Although Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich were the only screenwriters mentioned on production charts just after the resumption of shooting in early Oct, the only writer credited onscreen and in reviews was Noel Langley. According to a news item in HR on 3 Mar 1937, the then twenty-five-year-old Langley wrote the screenplay for Maytime in three-and-a-half days. In addition to Langley, Claudine West was credited with contributions to the treatment by the SAB . The extent of the work of writers Marion, McGuinness, Schayer, Hackett and Goodrich that is reflected in the completed film has not been determined. According to a news item on 15 Aug 1936, Dr. William Axt was to direct the operatic sequences of Il Trovatore and Tosca ; however, FDYB and modern sources credit the operatic sequences to William von Wymetal, and Tosca was not included in the completed film. It is possible that Wymetal replaced Axt when the production resumed after its interruption in late Sep. Although the appearance of child actor Bobs Watson in the film has been confirmed by visual identification in the viewed print, it has not been determined whether the actor "Bobby Watson," listed in the Call Bureau Cast Service as a "bit," is the adult character actor of that name or a misspelling of Bobs Watson's name. An ad in HR on 12 Mar 1937, mentions a number of people who were connnected with the production. The following are the names of persons whose specific connection to the film has not been determined: Jack Mackenzie, Virgil Apgar, Howard Culver, Charles Ryan, Olga Collins, Ann Lawson, Janet Guenther, Melford Cline, Clarence Burdick, Fred Phillips, Otto Krotka, Kenneth Crane, James Harper, Margaret Hart, Dick Henrikson, Bert Haines, Al White, Murtel Gallagher, Mert Burdick, Harry Kurley, Garland Briden and John Scura. MacDonald and Eddy recreated their roles for a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on 4 Sep 1944. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
4 Mar 37
p. 3.
Film Daily
8 Mar 37
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Mar 35
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 36
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 36
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 36
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 37
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
5 Mar 37
p. 2.
Motion Picture Herald
13 Feb 37
p. 50, 52
Motion Picture Herald
13 Mar 37
p. 43.
New York Times
19 Mar 37
p. 27.
Variety
24 Mar 37
p. 16.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Lynn Carver
Howard C. Hickman
Ben Weldon
Clarence H. Wilson
Sidney Jarvis
Francesco Maran
Zari Elmassian
Luke Cosgrove
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Robert Z. Leonard Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Contr to trmt
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus adapt and dir
Operatic seq staged by
Addl lyrics
SOUND
Rec dir
Mus rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Mont eff
DANCE
Dances staged by
Asst dance dir
Asst dance dir
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Chief elec
Head grip
Grip
Props
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Maytime by Rida Johnson Young, with music by Sigmund Romberg (New York, 16 Aug 1932).
SONGS
"Will You Remember?" music and lyrics by Rida Johnson Young and Sigmund Romberg
"Virginia Ham and Eggs" and "Viva L'Opera," music by Herbert Stothart, lyrics by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest
"Carry Me Back to Old Virginny," music and lyrics by James A. Bland
+
SONGS
"Will You Remember?" music and lyrics by Rida Johnson Young and Sigmund Romberg
"Virginia Ham and Eggs" and "Viva L'Opera," music by Herbert Stothart, lyrics by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest
"Carry Me Back to Old Virginny," music and lyrics by James A. Bland
"Czaritiza," music by Herbert Stothart, based on themes from the Fifth Symphony by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, words by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest
"Page's Aria" from the opera Les Huguenots , music by Giacomo Meyerbeer, libretto by Eugène Scribe and Émile Deschamps.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 March 1937
Production Date:
21 August--late September 1936 and 29 October 1936--29 January 1937
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Copyright Date:
18 March 1937
Copyright Number:
LP7009
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
sepia
Duration(in mins):
132-133
Length(in reels):
14
Country:
United States
PCA No:
3059
SYNOPSIS

At a small town May Day celebration, elderly Miss Morrison tries to console her young friend Kip, whose sweetheart Barbara has been offered a job on the operatic stage. Later Barbara goes for comfort to Miss Morrison, who reveals that years ago she was the internationally famous opera diva Marcia Mornay. Miss Morrison then relates her story: Marcia, a young American singer in Paris, is guided to success by famed voice teacher Nicolai, who introduces her at the court of Louis Napoleon. That night, Nicolai proposes to Marcia and she accepts, even though they both know that she is not in love with him. Later, feeling restless, Marcia takes a ride, and is stranded in the Latin Quarter when her driver's horse runs away. In a tavern, she meets American Paul Allison, who is also a singer, but not as ambitious as Marcia. Though they are attracted to each other, she at first refuses to see him again out of loyalty to Nicolai, but soon promises to lunch with him the next day. They enjoy their lunch together, but Marcia again says that they can no longer see each other and leaves. Paul then steals tickets to see her perform The Huguenots that evening, and after he is thrown out of his seat by the manager, he goes to her dressing room and only leaves when she promises to join him at St. Cloud for a May Day celebration. During the celebration, Paul tells her he loves her, but she says that she owes Nicolai too much and could never break a promise to him. They then part after ... +


At a small town May Day celebration, elderly Miss Morrison tries to console her young friend Kip, whose sweetheart Barbara has been offered a job on the operatic stage. Later Barbara goes for comfort to Miss Morrison, who reveals that years ago she was the internationally famous opera diva Marcia Mornay. Miss Morrison then relates her story: Marcia, a young American singer in Paris, is guided to success by famed voice teacher Nicolai, who introduces her at the court of Louis Napoleon. That night, Nicolai proposes to Marcia and she accepts, even though they both know that she is not in love with him. Later, feeling restless, Marcia takes a ride, and is stranded in the Latin Quarter when her driver's horse runs away. In a tavern, she meets American Paul Allison, who is also a singer, but not as ambitious as Marcia. Though they are attracted to each other, she at first refuses to see him again out of loyalty to Nicolai, but soon promises to lunch with him the next day. They enjoy their lunch together, but Marcia again says that they can no longer see each other and leaves. Paul then steals tickets to see her perform The Huguenots that evening, and after he is thrown out of his seat by the manager, he goes to her dressing room and only leaves when she promises to join him at St. Cloud for a May Day celebration. During the celebration, Paul tells her he loves her, but she says that she owes Nicolai too much and could never break a promise to him. They then part after vowing always to remember their day together. As the years pass, Marcia, who has married Nicolai, becomes the toast of the operatic world, but upon her triumphant return to America, she realizes that her life is hollow. Though faithful and devoted to Nicolai, her lack of passion for him has made them both unhappy. In New York, Nicolai arranges for Marcia to sing Czaritza , co-starring with Paul, who has become a baritone of some note, but who Nicolai does not realize is in love with Marcia. At rehearsal, they act at first as if they have never met before, but Nicolai begins to suspect the truth when Archipenco, Paul's singing teacher, talks about meeting Marcia in Paris many years before. Nicolai then recognizes Paul as the young man who left Marcia's dressing room after the performance of The Huguenots . On a brilliant opening night, Nicolai becomes jealous over the obvious emotion in Paul and Marcia's onstage love scenes, but doesn't know that they plan to run away together. Later, at their hotel, when Nicolai questions Marcia, she asks for her freedom, which he promises to give. Marcia soon discovers, however, that Nicolai has gone after Paul with a gun. At Paul's apartment, Nicolai shoots him just as Marcia arrives. Paul then dies in her arms, telling her that memories of their May Day together did last him all his life. At the conclusion of her story, Miss Morrison helps Barbara realize that she and Kip belong together. As she watches the young lovers embrace, Miss Morrison dies and is finally united with her own sweetheart in death. +

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

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