The Woman from Monte Carlo (1932) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
9 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
spectacular is the word for Lil
mukava99131 January 2015
Too bad Lil Dagover made only one Hollywood movie, but at least it's not lost, and English- speaking audiences get a chance to savor her without the distraction of subtitles.

There is a lot of plot ellipsis in this story about a lady with a past trying to settle into respectability as the wife of a French naval officer (Walter Huston). Unfortunately, the husband is at sea most of the time and when his ship finally comes into port and she arrives on board for a welcoming party World War One suddenly begins, the party is called off and the ship is torpedoed. Romantic rivalry (involving Warren William as an officer subordinate to Huston) and a threatening figure from her past (John Wray) are also mixed up in the mayhem.

However, the film is mostly about Lil. Her charm, her poise, her jewels, her costumes, her legs, her profile, her ivory skin, her raven hair, her captivating smile—all on display in generous close-ups. If this all seems reminiscent of Dietrich in the von Sternberg films, this exposure of Dagover was probably intended by the executives at First National who imported her, probably as their version of Dietrich or possibly Garbo, whose manner resembles hers. Her rather thick German accent is difficult to understand at times, and creates problems in some scenes, but she hits all of the required emotional notes, especially when playing the frustration of an abandoned wife.

The final fadeout is particularly striking.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Lukewarm Curiosity
JohnHowardReid19 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Sporting a plot with gaping holes (one of them large enough to accommodate a battleship), The Woman from Monte Carlo (1931) is more than somewhat disappointing. We waited years to catch up this one. Now it's finally available; but although it has some great moments – principally contributed by John Wray and occasionally by Lil Dagover – the preposterous plot and peculiarly lethargic performance by Warren William undermine its appeal. Nonetheless, although occasionally ill-treated by photographer Ernest Haller, Dagover works hard to build up credibility. Alas, her efforts are sabotaged, largely by Warren William but also by Walter Huston. Admittedly, the admiral is supposed to be a dull old stick, but in my book that doesn't mean he has no charisma whatever. (Incidentally, the studio's credits are wrong. Wray is the ship's captain, Huston is an admiral, and William plays an officer called "D'Artelle"). Michael Curtiz's visual flair is also under pressure from the talky script, the predictable plot and its lifeless characters. All in all, The Woman from Monte Carlo rates as a must-see for Lil Dagover (and John Wray) fans, but little more than a melodramatic curiosity for everyone else.
10 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Love Quadrangle Gone Bad...
xerses137 October 2017
Captain Corliax of the LAFAYETTE (Walter Huston) has a very attractive wife, Lottie Corliax (Lil Dagover). She has had previous relations with his executive officer Bromberg (John Wray) and a junior officer, D'Ortelles (Warren William). She wants to remain loyal too her Husband, but feels ignored being drawn back to D'Ortelles and repulsed by Bromberg. A Naval battle intrudes upon all of this and in the end there is NO happy ending for anybody. Watch and find out the details.

Strong cast supports the film. Lottie Corliax a popular German Actress is attractive and seductive, if She had stayed over here (Hollywood) might have rivaled Garbo or Dietrich. Huston and William did what needed too be done, acted like professional Naval Officers. As for John Wray, he is just as big a weasel in this film as he was as Himmelstoss in ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930).

The SFX are credible done for the time and the Naval battle a fair representation of early 20th Century Sea combat. The LAYFAYETTE described in the film as a Battle-Cruiser would more correctly be called a Armored Cruiser. A type totally obsolete by 1914. In the film represented by full sized sets a large scale model and some pick up shots of ship activity from a Colorado class standard Battleship. The model taking its inspiration from the EDGAR QUINET class Armored Cruiser. Just like in the real conflict, the LAYFAYETTE showed little resistance to underwater attack and succumbed fairly quickly too her Central Powers opponent. France was very lucky She had Great Britain and its Royal Navy on Her side. Her Navy would have been no match for the powerful German Fleet.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great Cast Wasted in Bland Story
Michael_Elliott9 December 2011
Woman from Monte Carlo, The (1932)

** (out of 4)

Warner melodrama about a Captain (Walter Houston) in the Navy who is about to enter the start of WWI not knowing that his wife (Lil Dagover) has not only a secret past but she's also carrying on a relationship with her husband's Lieutenant (Warren William). After a tragic event aboard the ship, the Captain finds himself in trouble and the only witness (John Wray) to the events has his own agenda. Despite many familiar faces to film buffs, THE WOMAN FROM MONTE CARLO has been pretty much forgotten to time and if anyone does remember it it's probably for the top-billed Indonesian actress Dagover. It's clear that Warner was hoping they had found their own Greta Garbo type as Dagover gives off that sultry voice and the film wastes no time at showing off her legs. In her opening sequence we see her drag herself out of bed and of course her nightgown lifts up long enough to give viewers a good look at her legs. This here is about the most excitement you're going to get for nearly an hour as everything in the middle of the film is nothing more than boring dialogue as we see the three lead characters go back and forth about themselves. We have the Captain who begins to think that he's more committed to the Navy than his actual wife. We have the questionable wife who loves her husband but also another man. We have the other man who wants to protect the woman he loves. We then have a fourth character who of course is the real snake. The screenplay never really makes any of the characters all that interesting and a little energy or at least passion would have helped things. Director Michael Curtiz is pretty bland in terms of the visuals as there's nothing too good looking here and I'd say that the cinematography is pretty bland as well. I didn't think Curtiz did a very good job at building up any of the personal drama going on but he does manage to make for one great sequence. The highlight of the movie is a pretty good action sequence where the ship comes under fire. The effects are very impressive even today and the sinking of the ship manages to contain some nice drama as well. I thought Dagover was pretty good in her role as she perfectly sold the sexuality of the part but I thought she was also believable as the woman torn between two men. Huston doesn't get much to do but he's always fun to watch. William is good in his part but I think it's clear to say that it should have still been played by someone else. The actor is just too strong to play such a "simple" person and the French accent is constantly going in and out. John Wray makes for a good villain and we also have George E. Stone in a small part. Film buffs might want to check this out for its director and cast but sadly the end result isn't nearly as good as one would have hoped for.
11 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
She could seduce the entire Navy under her husband's eyes, and he'd never know it!
mark.waltz20 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Lil Dagover is a ship captain's wife, half is age, and a reputation to boot. Of course, she wants to be a faithful wife, but her spouse (an excellent Walter Huston) is too busy being called away on naval business. She's the subject of lustful unwanted advances from sleazy naval officer John Wray, but Huston's right hand man (Warren William) rescues her from him on several occasions. Coincidently, World War I is declared on the night of a shipboard party and a drunken Dagover finds a major hangover when she is left behind when the ship sets off for battle. This leads to a melodramatic plot twist where the ship is torpedoed and Huston is put on court martial for claiming the torpedoing ship had sent friendly secret codes. Will wifey and injured best pal William be able to save him from career suicide without ruining her marriage or further besmirching her reputation? Not if the jealous Wray has his way! Fast-moving romantic melodrama has enough sexual innuendo to fill a dozen pre-code films but suffers from the presence of a rather ineffectual leading lady who appears to be slightly mannish. There's a nice party sequence where Huston ends up in the arms of amorous portly socialite Maude Eburne and a twist in court that is downright over-the-top. It also features a bittersweet downer of an ending that leaves a lot of unanswered questions, but the presence of the ultra talented Walter Huston rises this above mediocrity.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
olunclemike4 November 2019
Think Othello, Desdemona, and Iago. But a Desdemona with a past. This quick-paced drama of a variety of infidelities - large and small - is quite plausible. And with the commencement of World War I hostilities, this short story roils, rolls, and rocks. After all, loyalty is most important in wartime. This film is not so predictable as some would have you believe.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Greta Garbo and MGM had nothing to worry about...
AlsExGal19 October 2019
... as this was Warner Brother's first and last attempt to replicate the oomph of Garbo with Dagover. The first problem is that the impersonation is too obvious and overdone. The second problem is that Dagover is 45 at this point, and the film is playing Dagover's character up to be in her 20s, because she and her husband, played by Walter Huston, keep going on and on about how she is half her husband's age. In fact Huston was only four years older than she.

The "woman from Monte Carlo", Lottie, is married to French naval captain Corlaix (Walter Huston). She is lonely because she hasn't been married that long and her husband is always at sea. To complicate matters, one of her husband's officers, Warren William as Lieutenant d'Ortelles, is in love with her, although neither has done anything about the attraction. Cmdr. Brambourg (John Wray), second in command to Corlaix, seems to think that because he and Lottie were in the same room one time at Monte Carlo that they are old lovers. She sets him straight. He does not appreciate it.

So the trouble starts when the ship carrying these officers docks, but they are ordered to stay on board. Instead the wives and friends of the crew are brought onboard, including Lottie. War is declared that night - I assume WWI - and all of the visitors have to go back to shore early. When Lottie becomes distraught because she may not see her husband again for years, Lieutenant d'Ortelles takes her to his cabin to calm her down. In the meantime, all of the other civilians have left and the ship has set sail for the open sea. In the words of Chester Riley - "What a revoltin' development this is!"

The captain has no idea of his officer's crush on his wife, there is no way to explain her presence in his cabin, and how will they get her back to shore without being discovered! Then an enemy ship appears and causes even more complications.

So this script is not that bad. It does seem that matters are stretched out, too much dialogue for too little plot. Plus I just don't believe these officers are French! It's not that I expect them to sound like Inspector Clouseau, because that would just be too cheesy. But John Wray sounds like a New York gangster - he often played one - and Walter Huston sounds too folksy to be a Frenchman. Warren William is smooth as always, but he just seems to be in a role that could have been played by any anonymous actor. Not nearly up to his great talent.

In summary it's pretty much a take it or leave it proposition.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
starring Lil Dagover in her only American film
blanche-229 July 2015
Lil Dagover stars with Walter Huston and Warren William in The Woman from Monte Carlo, a 1932 film - actually a remake of a silent film and also a French film starring Annabella.

The story concerns a woman, Lottie (Dagover) whose husband (Huston) commands a ship and is away for long periods of time. When the ship arrives in port, she is escorted to the ship by his lieutenant D'Artelles (Warren William) who is in love with her.

Lottie is devastated when her husband tells her that because of danger, she cannot stay on the ship overnight and must go home. When d'Artelles informs her of this, she is very upset and talks about how she can never see him, and is alone, has to live like a nun...

The ship is torpedoed while she is still with d'Artelles, and though his associate is able to get her home, the fact that she was there becomes critical when her husband is arrested - the boat sinks, and most of the crew is lost. He is accused of bringing the ship too near the enemy; however, the signal he received was the code of a friendly ship. But the only person who knows this, besides Lottie, is a real snake who wants something from Lottie in return for his testimony.

It's a shame Dagover only made one film in the U.S., because of all the foreign imports brought over to rival Garbo and Dietrich, she was perhaps the strongest, certainly stronger than Anna Sten and others. She was an excellent actress, her appearance was somewhat similar to Garbo's, and she had great legs. Her accent was a little thick, but in time that would have lessened.

She was a huge star in Germany during the Wehrmacht era and was one of Hitler's favorite actresses. She continued to work under the Hitler regime but the films she did were apolitical, musicals and comedies. She also entertained the troops. She worked in Germany until retiring in 1976; she died at the age of 92. A six-decade career, and we got to see her in one movie.

Warren William, as others have said, was miscast, and Huston was on the stiff side. That, I think, was how the role was written.

All in all, nothing special but it's a good opportunity -- and probably your only one -- to see Lil Dagover.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Girl of Leisure and Pleasure
bkoganbing7 October 2017
The one and only opportunity to see German actress Lili Dagover in an American film occurs in this rather old fashioned melodrama The Girl From Monte Carlo. Lili plays a notorious woman of leisure and pleasure who hangs out in the casinos looking for rich men to spend on her.

But she yearns for respectability and what's more respectable than a Captain in the French Navy. She marries the formal and stiff Walter Huston who's been at sea too long.

But this is not Dagover's only acquaintance with the navy. From out of her past is John Wray a notorious rake and Huston's executive officer. And one of Huston's newer officers Warren William gets Dagover's motor running.

Without saying any more about the plot it ends badly for all three of these men.

It was obvious that Warner Brothers-First National imported Dagover from Germany to rival the appeal Marlene Dietrich. She certainly gives a worthy go of it. But as well as Dagover puts her own brand of femme fatale on this film, she decided unlike Dietrich to return to Germany.

An interesting role here is that of George E. Stone who is Warren William's orderly and most discreet keeper of secrets. He's as loyal to William as he was as Otero in Little Caesar to Edward G. Robinson. I'll say nothing more, make of it viewer what you will.

As for Dagover it took more than one man to make her Monte Carlo Lili.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed