The Love Parade

Screening on Film
Recently Restored
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch.
With Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Lupino Lane.
US, 1929, 35mm, black & white, 110 min.
Print source: UCLA

Lubitsch’s first musical is a lively affair replete with singing aristocrats, extravagantly dressed dames and lavish scenery, a formula that would soon prove immensely popular for Paramount during the depression years. The Love Parade pairs then-up-and-coming Parisian oddball Maurice Chevalier and Philadelphia newcomer Jeanette MacDonald as the royal lovers of Sylvania, an imaginary kingdom of European decadence, and the actor-singers skillfully transcend the limitations of the technology recording them, capable as it was of only fixed setups during musical performances. Never one to let things go stale, Lubitsch pairs these stiffer presentations with bits of kinetic slapstick in a subplot featuring servants played by Lillian Roth and Lupino Lane, the latter of whom channels silent comedians in his terminal inability to stay upright. By turns crass and refined, acerbic and romantic, The Love Parade set the tempo and tone for years of Paramount talkies to come and made Lubitsch the studio’s prize quantity.

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