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The Smiling Lieutenant (1931)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance, Musical | 1 August 1931 (USA)
An amorous lieutenant is forced to marry a socially awkward princess, though he tries to keep his violin-playing girlfriend on the side.

Director:

Ernst Lubitsch

Writers:

Leopold Jacobson (operetta), Felix Dormann (operetta) (as Felix Dörmann) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Maurice Chevalier ... Lt. Nikolaus 'Niki' von Preyn
Claudette Colbert ... Franzi
Miriam Hopkins ... Princess Anna
Charles Ruggles ... Max (as Charlie Ruggles)
George Barbier ... King Adolf XV
Hugh O'Connell ... Niki's Orderly
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Storyline

Lieutenant Niki of the Austrian royal guard has a new girlfriend, Franzi. He's crazy about her and is smiling at her while on duty in the street. King Adolf and his daughter Princess Anna from the neighboring kingdom of Flausenthurm drive by, and Anna intercepts a wink meant for Franzi. She falls for Niki, marries him (he has no choice in the matter), and whisks him off to Flausenthurm. Franzi follows and enjoys a brief affair with Niki before Anna finds out. Franzi, much more experienced in the ways of the world, gives Anna lessons on how to win the affections of her husband. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

1 August 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El teniente seductor See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(cut) | (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paramount's biggest grossing film of 1931. See more »

Goofs

In the latter part of the movie Chevalier bounds up a grand staircase painted to appear as marble but the loud clomp-clomp-clomp of his shoes reveals it to be just wood. See more »

Quotes

Princess Anna: I don't know very much about life. I got all my knowledge out of the Royal Encyclopedia. A special edition arranged for Flausenthurm, with all the interesting things left out.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A version in French with dialogue and lyrics by 'Henri Bataille (II)' played in New York City, New York, USA on 15 October 1931, and was a big hit in Paris. It probably was a dubbed English version, but slightly shorter at 2,476.80 m in length. See more »

Connections

Version of The Waltz Dream (1925) See more »

Soundtracks

Toujours l'Amour in the Army
(1931) (uncredited)
Music by Oscar Straus
Lyrics by Clifford Grey
Sung by Maurice Chevalier twice
See more »

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User Reviews

object lesson in the art of filmmaking
27 October 2014 | by mukava991See all my reviews

There is little to add to the praise this classic film has already received from professional and amateur critics and viewers. It is an object lesson in the art of filmmaking, cleverly conceived and plotted, gorgeously photographed, well acted by a colorful cast, constantly fresh and joyous, inventive and artful. The dialogue is brilliant, especially when it blossoms with playful double entendres. The mise-en-scene is filled with the engaging formalities so beloved by its director Ernst Lubitsch, and visual cues giving wordless information about plot and character. The contrast between the females, Miriam Hopkins and Claudette Colbert, is deftly arranged. Though Chevalier has charm to burn, his thick French accent does occasionally blunt the effect of the dialogue. But his light comedy skills are otherwise formidable and in conjunction with Lubitsch's staging and framing add up to cinematic magic. Colbert equals and even surpasses him with her own skill and charm. She gives particular oomph to her songs, acting them fully. Hopkins can be a grating performer but here tones it down. Her piano playing is impressive, whether it's real or not.


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