Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. USA, 1952. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Screenplay by Sonya Levien, William Ludwig, based on the operetta by Viktor Leon, Leo Stein. Cinematography by Robert Surtees. Produced by Joe Pasternak. Production Design by Cedric Gibbons, Paul Groesse. Costume Design by Helen Rose, Gile Steele. Film Editing by Conrad A. Nervig. Academy Awards 1952.
The worst version of the popular operetta is this musical comedy that plays like a turgid soap opera. Lana Turner is badly miscast as the widow of a Marshovian nobleman who is wooed and romanced by a fellow countryman (Fernando Lamas) in order to secure her small, fictitious country’s meager fortune. Most of the songs have been cut out to accommodate Turner’s inability to sing, the few she has are dubbed, and the rest are halfheartedly sung by the remaining cast. The sets and costumes couldn’t look better, and this story definitely deserved to be in colour all along, but this particular production is a bomb.