Rose-Marie (1936)

Rose-Marie (1936), directed by W.S. Van Dyke.

A temperamental opera diva heads for the north woods to search for her brother when he escapes from prison. Without revealing too much information, she teams up with a Mountie who is also searching for the man. They sing their way through it.

I must have seen a Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy musical before, but if so I'm not remembering one. The titles have just started to become available on DVD-R.

This is not sophisticated romantic comedy but was more lively than I expected. MacDonald has comic talent; one funny bit has her trying to learn honky-tonk singing when broke. Her heavy makeup makes her look more like a silent film star. Eddy contributed greatly to the stalwart do-right Mountie mythology, but his character is good at flirting, in a gentlemanly way.

The way they hold the high notes: they were made for each other.

Small parts for David Niven and Una O'Connor. Surprise: James Stewart is the outlaw brother!

A large-scale "totem-pole dance" looks partly real, if much choreographed (and with a giant rolling drum also used for a stage).

Filmed around Lake Tahoe. Films made during the 1930s: there is something especially magic about moonlight on the water -- it must be the silver screen. It works in tropical settings and it works in the north woods.

Warner Archive title. The film is in pretty rough, unrestored shape. This is a case where the thumbnails look better than than the original images. That is more likely to happen with DVD than with Blu-ray.