Crosby plays a Philadelpia Quaker engaged to a Southern belle. He becomes a social outcast when he refuses to fight a duel. Fields then hires him to perform on his riverboat, promoting him ... See full summary »
Crusty Dr. McRory of Fallbridge, Maine hires a replacement for his vacation sight unseen. Alas, he and young singing doctor Jim Pearson don't hit it off; but Pearson is delighted to stay, ... See full summary »
When his young son is shot, John Wellington kills the culprit and flees. But his son Johnny recovers and is raised by Sir George. Some twenty years later Johnny sets out to find Sir ... See full summary »
Robert N. Bradbury
Johnny Mack Brown,
An American singing cowboy who has become an oil millionaire is convinced to stay at an Balkan village waiting for his bride-to-be who is getting the divorce in Paris, where they expect to ... See full summary »
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. However, because of legal complications, this particular title was not included in the original television package and may not have ever been televised. It was released on DVD 10 November 2010 as one of six titles in the Bing Crosby Collection, part of the Universal Backlot Series, again 11 November 2014 as one of 24 titles in Universal's Bing Crosby Silver Screen Collection, and again as a single 21 June 2016 as part of the Universal Vault Series. See more »
A musical comedy from Paramount featuring one classically trained voice and one popular singer, set in Europe, built around a romance between an impoverished princess and a rich man posing as a waiter to be near her... this sounds to me exactly like the kind of movie that Paramount would have assigned to Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald and director Ernst Lubitsch during the early thirties. I would bet my bottom dollar that this is exactly what Paramount planned to do with this musical remake of the 1926 silent comedy "The Grand Duchess and the Waiter." Unfortunately, none of them were available in 1934, so they gave it to Bing Crosby, Kitty Carlisle and director Frank Tuttle instead. In this case second best isn't good enough. Crosby holds his own reasonably well, making a surprisingly good substitute for Chevalier (or Adolphe Menjou, who played the part in the silent film); like Maurice, he has a breezy, easygoing charm, which fits his character, a common man who made good. But Carlisle is fatally miscast as the Russian princess. Jeanette MacDonald could play these snobbish aristocrats with an undertone of sympathy and humor; Carlisle can't, and she is so haughty that she becomes dislikable. She isn't a bad actress; this part just isn't meant for her. It would be hard for any movie to overcome that handicap. Maybe Lubitsch could have made something out of it, but Tuttle lacks his subtlety and his instinct for a clever gag.
The movie has virtues; the music is good, and the scene in which Bing sings "June in January" is imaginative. The supporting cast is solid, especially Roland Young and Reginald Owen as members of the royal family. The sets and the photography are attractive. I'm glad to see this movie emerge from the closet it had been hiding in for half a century, but it just isn't one of Crosby's best films.
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