Franz Lehar's music is practically indestructible, and despite the somewhat symphonic arrangements with undertone crescendos that Hollywood seems to fancy, it is still delightful. Yes, the Merry Widow is still merry, even if she was held over for a week at Loew's State.
Maurice is not at his best here. He preserves an unmistakable air of the gutter and of the trotter; as the Army officer who is the champion rake of all Europe, he is not so convincing. His Jeanette, as Madam the Widow, seems to be reaching the age of retirement. Her equine face is not at its best in nineteenth century dress, but she still sings well, and to Herr Lehar goes the credit for her success.
There is a deal of humor, and some pseudo-humor. Chevaller at least has not his straw hat. Some of the dancing is good. Some of the photography is not so good. The supporting cast is very fine.
The story is that of the officer who is sent to woo the rich widow and thereby prevent her taking her money from the somewhat mythical kingdom. Yes, he does bring her back alive, although it is quite a trial.
But still the music of Franz Lehar, the old bandmaster, who contrary to general opinion, is still bandmastering, is the best thing on the program. The picture is diverting, hardly-colossal, if you have a chance, drop in, but as you value your sanity, avoid Mr. Martel's suburban organ music.