AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Love Me Tonight
Director: Rouben Mamoulian (Dir)
Release Date:   26 Aug 1932
Premiere Information:   New York premiere: 18 Aug 1932
Duration (in mins):   90 or 104
Duration (in reels):   10
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Cast:   Maurice Chevalier (Maurice Courtelin)  
    Jeanette MacDonald (Princess Jeanette)  
    Charlie Ruggles (Vicomte Gilbert de Vareze)  
    Charles Butterworth (Count de Savignac)  
    Myrna Loy (Countess Valentine)  
    C. Aubrey Smith (Duke d'Artelines)  
    Elizabeth Patterson (First aunt)  
    Ethel Griffies (Second aunt)  
    Blanche Frederici (Third aunt)  
    Joseph Cawthorne (Doctor Armand de Pontignac)  
    Robert Greig (Major Domo Flammand)  
    Bert Roach (Emile)  
    Herbert Mundin (Groom)  
    Ethel Wales (Dressmaker)  
    Marion "Peanuts" Byron (Bakery girl)  
    Mary Doran (Mme. Dupont)  
    Cecil Cunningham (Laundress)  
    Tyler Brooke (Composer)  
    Edgar Norton (Valet)  
    Rita Owin (Chambermaid)  
    Clarence Wilson (Shirtmaker)  
    Gordon Westcott (Collector)  
    George Davis (Pierre)  
    Rolfe Sedan (Taxi driver)  
    Tony Merlo (Hatmaker)  
    William H. Turner (Bootmaker)  

Summary: Struggling Parisian tailor Maurice Courtelin finds he has been bilked on a bill for fifteen suits by the Vicomte Gilbert de Vareze. When he discovers that de Vareze has a bad reputation with tailors all over Paris, Maurice becomes outraged and goes to the Chateau d'Artelins to collect his bill. Along the road to the chateau, Princess Jeanette narrowly avoids a collision of her buggy with Maurice's car. Maurice immediately falls in love with Jeanette and, although flustered and haughty, she is delighted by him. Neither are aware of the other's social status. When Jeanette goes home to the Chateau d'Artelins she faints, and the doctor recommends marriage to a man her age as a curative. Maurice arrives and de Vareze, afraid to expose his indebtedness, nervously introduces him to the Duke as a baron, thereby enabling Maurice to join the other guests of rank. While Maurice is on a royal hunt, Count de Savignac discovers that Maurice has no lineage, and informs the Duke. De Vareze then intimates that Maurice is actually royalty traveling under a nom de plume . A costume ball is thrown in honor of Maurice and he comes dressed as a Parisian "Apache." He then follows Jeanette into the garden where they proclaim their love for each other. The next morning, Maurices dismisses Jeanette's seamstress and the insulted seamstress tells everyone that Maurice intends to sew Jeanette's riding habit. Soon Maurice must confess his true identity, appalling Jeanette and everyone in the chateau. Maurice collects his bill and boards a train for Paris, but when Jeanette realizes that she loves Maurice despite his lowly profession, she takes the fastest horse and catches up with the train, shouting that she would love to be a tailor's wife. Maurice does not accept this proclamation, so Jeanette stands on the train tracks until the train is forced to stop, and Maurice and Jeanette joyfully embrace. 

Production Company: Paramount Publix Corp.  
Production Text: A Rouben Mamoulian Production
Distribution Company: Paramount Publix Corp.  
Director: Rouben Mamoulian (Dir)
Writer: Samuel Hoffenstein (Scr)
  Waldemar Young (Scr)
  George Marion Jr. (Scr)
Photography: Victor Milner (Photog)
  William Mellor (Cam op)
  Guy Roe (Asst cam)
Sound: M. M. Paggi (Sd)
Production Misc: Fred Datig (Casting dir)
  Bert Longworth (Still photog)
Country: United States

Songs: "Isn't It Romantic?," "Love Me Tonight," "Lover," "Mimi," "The Poor Apache," "The Son of a Gun Is Nothing But a Tailor," "That's the Song of Paree" and "A Woman Needs Something Like That," music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.
Composer: Lorenz Hart
  Richard Rodgers
Source Text: Based on the play Le Tailleur au Château ( The Tailor in the Castle ) by Léopold Marchand and Paul Armont (Paris, 4 Aug 1924).
Authors: Paul Armont
  Léopold Marchand

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Paramount Publix Corp. 25/8/1932 dd/mm/yyyy LP3218 Yes

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Noiseless Recording

 
Genre: Romantic comedy
  Romantic comedy
  Musical
 
Subjects (Major): Class distinction
  French
  Impersonation and imposture
  Princesses
  Romance
  Tailors
 
Subjects (Minor): Apaches--Paris
  Balls (Parties)
  Chateaus
  Debt
  Dressmakers
  Hunting
  Nobility
  Paris (France)
  Physicians
  Spinsters
  Trains
  Widows

Note: MPAA/PCA files at the AMPAS Library reveal that while most of the songs in the film were approved prior to release, the Hays Office objected to the suggestive nature of the song, "A Woman Needs Something Like That," although it was left in the film. Jesse Lasky, Jr. responded in a letter to the MPPDA's concern about the line "Must we sleep tonight all alone?" in the song "Love Me Tonight," by noting that the line had been changed to "Let's drink deep tonight all alone." Concern that French Royalists might take offense to the film prompted the Hays Office to give a copy of the script to the Los Angeles French consul, Henri Didot. Based on Didot's comments, it was determined that only the scene in which the princess strikes a servant should be deleted. In addition, Didot maintained that as long as the duke and princess were not implied to have royal blood, the film should not give offense. The film was rejected in Czechoslovakia, approved without eliminations in Quebec, New York and Kansas, and approved with eliminations in Australia, Britain, Chicago, Ontario, British Columbia, Ohio, Alberta, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
       Among scenes and dialogue commonly deleted by local censors were references to the "virgin spring"; the scene of the Princess's examination by the physician; and Maurice taking measurements of the princess. In 1937, letters from Joseph I. Breen of the AMPP to Paramount indicate that Breen advised against the re-issue of the film because he felt that the severe editing required to pass the censors would ruin the film. In a 1949 letter, Breen approved a re-release with the following deletions: Any reference to "virgin springs"; the song "A Woman Needs Something Like That"; and the scene of Myrna Loy in a "transparent nightgown." According to a memo in the file, the four-reel re-release was unsuccessful. A news item in FD noted that Robert Coogan was slated for a role in the film.
       According to modern sources, the scenes of Myrna Loy singing "Mimi" and "A Woman Needs Something Like That" were retained for European release. The song "The Man for Me" was apparently dropped prior to the picture's general release. Modern sources include the following additional credits: Sound recording , M. M. Paggi; Film editor , Rouben Mamoulian; and Film cutter , William Shea. Modern sources add the following to the cast: George "Gabby" Hayes ( Grocer ) and George Humbert ( Chef ). In 1982, the Director's Guild honored Rouben Mamoulian on the fiftieth anniversary of Love Me Tonight 's premiere. Among the notable aspects of the film as noted by modern critics is the use of the zoom shot in the opening sequence. LAT noted in a 1982 article the film's pioneering integration of songs and dramatic action. The same article featured an interview with Mamoulian in which he stated that he made this, his favorite film, at the request of Adolph Zukor, and initially developed the film with a music score, not a script. The song "Isn't It Romantic?" later became the title song for a 1948 Paramount release featuring Veronica Lake and Patric Knowles.  

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Film Daily   6 Jan 32   p. 6.
Film Daily   13 Aug 32   p. 10.
HF   21 Jan 33   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   5 Aug 32   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Aug 32   p. 1.
International Photographer   1 Sep 32   p. 36.
Los Angeles Times   14 Aug 1982.   
Motion Picture Herald   20 Aug 32   p. 34.
New York Times   19 Aug 32   p. 20.
Variety   23 Aug 32   p. 15.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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