Friday, December 02, 2005

The Love Parade

The Love Parade (1929), directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, is the first movie musical. It is an oddity that lovers of early musical comedy and Lubitsch completists only will want to see. Made in the first months of sound, they still had a lot to learn about how to do it right. The music is forgettable.

WARNING: Plot told completely.

The story, I’m happy to report, will outrage any feminist. MacDonald is the Queen of Sylvania. She falls in love with Count Alfred (Chevalier) and they marry. Alfred is immediately unhappy because in Sylvania the Queen has total power; he is merely the Prince Consort. A battle of sexes ensues. She imperiously orders him to appear at the opera at night with a smile on his face so the country can secure a needed loan. He refuses. She goes to the opera alone. Everyone at the opera is aghast that the seat next to the Queen is empty, but then Alfred shows up with a big smile on his face. He did what he had to do for Sylvania, but that night after the opera he stays in his bedroom instead of going to the Queen’s chamber. The Queen, merely a woman in love, breaks and goes to Alfred’s room. She is a feminine woman and he is a man. In the last line of the movie, she calls him “my king.”

The story is fabulous romantic comedy that today’s Hollywood, in thrall to PC, would doubtless botch. That is, if they would even go near the dangerous theme of a woman submitting to the metaphysical dominance of a man in the bedroom. And yet, that is the reality of the two sexes. This movie reminds me how much we miss in contemporary storytelling that must conform to New Leftist ideologies.

UPDATE: I originally told the whole plot of The Love Parade in this post without the obligatory spoiler warning. I believe my thinking was that no one would ever possibly watch this obscure movie with terrible sound, especially given how hard it was for me to find it. But in the distant future, long after I am dead, the West might see a cultural change and Lubitsch's old movies might be common fare and this post my still be hanging around the Internet. (I can dream, can't I?) So I have added a warning above.

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