Title: One Hour With You
Genre: Comedy, Musical, Romance
Music: W. Franke Harling
Cinematography: Victor Milner
Lubitsch’s musical remake of his THE MARRIAGE CIRCLE (1924), with George Cukor as the original director, another case of creativity discord for insiders to dig, stars Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald as a happily married middle-class couple. It comes off as an accomplished guidance of how to manage your marriage while encountering flirtation or crazed suitors, a tad old school but it is pure fun.
Constantly breaking the fourth wall with self-revealing asides, the smooth-talker Chevalier’s obtrusive French accent and mellow chanson are contagiously prepossessing, an honest man cannot withhold his feelings towards a seductress (Tobin), his wife’s best friend, on the other hand, a demure MacDonald, famous for her high-pitch soprano lilt, is an excellent option to cast as his high-strung wife, who in turn is the love interest of his husband’s best friend (Ruggles), but generally she only fences with him and only becomes intimate with him as an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth to Chevalier’s philandering. So see the double standard here? Wife is not allowed to exude her real affection toward a third man while husband is granted full amnesty since Chevalier asks in our face “what will you do?”, it’s merely biological. But it is made in 1932, what do we expect?
One singling-out scene is the awkward moment between Chevalier and Tobin’s divorce-seeking husband (Young) when they first meet, Young’s self-claim of himself as a man with absolute no sense of humour puts a preposterous veil of parody in this chamber comedy, all 6 main characters are well-selected, Genevieve Tobin is a natural force as a temptress with her heavily eye-lined vixen eyes, moreover, her singsongy communication with her husband is so naturalistically phoney. The mockery of woman’s self-praising instinct is largely exculpatory, all the way, the film possesses an uplifting comical rhythm without overblown theatricality, and the musical numbers are soothingly intoxicating, you can have a wonderful one hour (and a bit more) with this early talking picture.