Rose Marie

Rose Marie

Director: W.S. Van Dyke

Cast: Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, James Stewart

     
 

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It was standard operating procedure at MGM to cast their favorite singing team of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald in new versions of old operettas, then retain only the music, drastically altering the plotlines to conform to popular tastes. This was the treatment afforded the Rudolf Friml-Herbert Stothart-Oscar Hammerstein-Otto Harbach musical RoseSee more details below

Overview

It was standard operating procedure at MGM to cast their favorite singing team of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald in new versions of old operettas, then retain only the music, drastically altering the plotlines to conform to popular tastes. This was the treatment afforded the Rudolf Friml-Herbert Stothart-Oscar Hammerstein-Otto Harbach musical Rose Marie--and thank heaven that MGM decided to jettison the original's creaky libretto about a woman who offers her body to the villain to save the hero from a trumped-up murder charge (this chestnut seemed old-fashioned even in 1928, when Joan Crawford starred in the silent version). In lieu of this wearisome storyline, the Eddy-MacDonald version casts MacDonald as a spoiled, temperamental Canadian opera star who learns that her uncontrollable brother (James Stewart), serving a prison sentence, has escaped to a cabin in the North Woods and needs someone to tend his wounds. MacDonald travels to northern Canada incognito, where in a hilarious sequence she tries and fails to pass muster as a dance-hall girl. Upon meeting likeable mountie Nelson Eddy, who unbeknownst to her has been assigned to locate her brother, MacDonald fabricates a story about needing an escort for a rendezvous with her lover. Such latter-day parodies as Dudley Do-Right notwithstanding, the Eddy-MacDonald sequences are often deliberately played for laughs, even when Nelson is uttering such lines as "Heavy? Why, I could carry you for hours!" Gradually, Nelson and MacDonald fall in love, only to fall out of love when Nelson tracks down and captures MacDonald's brother. Despite this rift, a happy--and logical--ending is not long in coming. It might be hard to watch such Eddy-MacDonald duets as "Rose Marie" and "Indian Love Call" with a completely straight face; it is reassuring, however, to find out that the filmmakers knew that "Rose Marie" was ripe for ridicule, and decided to laugh at themselves first in order to disarm the audience. To avoid confusion with the 1955 remake, the 1936 Rose Marie was retitled Indian Love Call for TV showings.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Many modern viewers love to poke fun at operetta films, and Rose Marie in particular comes in for ribbing. After all, this is the film that contains not only Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy but also "Indian Love Call," the song that is most often mocked when discussing operetta. And it's true that much of Rose Marie is a bit silly. But those who are willing to accept that operetta is really a genre all unto itself will find a great deal to enjoy in Rose Marie, starting with MacDonald, Eddy and that infamous love song. Yes, Eddy is a bit stiff; but every now and then he uses that to his advantage, almost as if he's winking at the audience and saying, "I am a bit of a cluck, aren't I?" And MacDonald gets the chance to play the prima donna, which she does extremely well, and then go on to demonstrate her way not only with a gag line but with moments of tenderness. And for all it's "yoo-ooo-oo-oo"-ness, "Indian Love Call" works. The score as a whole is a gem, and the two stars are in magnificent voice, with second lead Allan Jones not too shabby on those high notes either. It's also a treat to see a young James Stewart in what was really his first important role. The screenplay is total nonsense, of course, but W.S. Van Dyke keeps things moving at a nice pace, there's some impressive costumes and scenery, and a great "Totem Tom Tom" number. Those who can ignore the silliness will enjoy it quite a bit.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/10/2012
UPC:
0883316475140
Original Release:
1936
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Region Code:
0
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:51:00
Sales rank:
23,866

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jeanette MacDonald Marie de Flor
Nelson Eddy Sgt. Bruce
James Stewart John Flower
Reginald Owen Meyerson
Allan Jones Romeo/Mario Cavaradossi
Alan Mowbray Premier
George Regas Boniface
Robert Greig Cafe Manager
Una O'Connor Anna
Lucien Littlefield Storekeeper
David Niven Teddy
Herman Bing Mr. Daniels
Gilda Gray Bella
Louis Mercier Admirers in Hall
Milton A. Owen Stage Manager
Delos Jewkes Butcher at Hotel
Ernie Alexander Elevator Operator
Agostino Borgato Opera Fan
Leonard Carey Louis
Aileen Carlyle Susan
David Clyde Doorman
Jimmy Conlin Joe the Piano Player
Edgar Dearing Mounted Policeman
John George Barbly
Fred Graham Corporal
Dorothy Gray Edith
Sam Harris Guest
Russell Hicks Commandant
Halliwell Hobbes Mr. Gordon
Bert Lindley Trapper
Jack Pennick Brawler
Lee Phelps Barfly
Paul Porcasi Emil the Chef
David Robel Dancer
Adrian Rosley Opera Fan
Matty Roubert Newsboy
Rolfe Sedan Admirer
Pat West Traveling Salesman
Jim Mason Trapper

Technical Credits
W.S. Van Dyke Director
Adrian Costumes/Costume Designer
William H. Daniels Cinematographer
Rudolf Friml Score Composer
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Frances Goodrich Screenwriter
Albert Hackett Screenwriter
Chester Hale Choreography
Alice Duer Miller Screenwriter
Blanche Sewell Editor
Douglas Shearer Sound/Sound Designer
Herbert Stothart Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Hunt Stromberg Producer
Edwin B. Willis Art Director
Joseph C. Wright Art Director
William von Wynetal Choreography

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