Love Me Tonight (1932)

ROUBEN MAMOULIAN

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB

USA, 1932. . Screenplay by , , , based on the play by , . Cinematography by . Produced by Rouben Mamoulian. Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by , . Film Editing by Rouben Mamoulian, .

Rouben Mamoulian deftly works around awkward early sound technology and delivers a peppy, silly musical full of fun tunes and delightful performances. is once again both handsome and totally tone deaf as a Parisian tailor who is distraught when an old money/no money nobleman () walks out without paying the bill for his latest suit.

Chevalier has his own creditors to satisfy for the cost of the materials, so he tracks his customer down to his countryside villa and ends up pretending to be one of the aristocrats in order to keep Ruggles from getting in trouble with his penny-pinching father. It seems the blustery old man (played by ) is raging upon everyone in the household for their outsized spending habits, among them in an early performance, their good name their only asset thanks to the changes in the world that see upstarts like Chevalier feeling justified in demanding any payment at all for their services.

In this house, our plucky hero meets the lovely princess , and they’re immediately perfect for each other considering how many musical numbers they break out into, but will their romance survive her finding out his true identity?

The film’s moving smoothly between dialogue and musical lyrics was revolutionary for its time, many of the numbers playing out like perfectly timed patter singing that keeps the plot chugging along as the characters chirp out a lot of adorable ditties to each other.

Likely inspired by the films of Rene Clair, who always incorporated a light but never simple sense of music into his works, this is a silly but effortlessly charming romance that ranks among the best of the musicals in which its two leads starred.

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