Rose-Marie (1936)

“If I should ever call you, would you answer me?”

Synopsis:
When a temperamental opera singer (Jeanette MacDonald) heads to the Canadian wilderness to find her fugitive brother (Jimmy Stewart), she falls in love with a singing Mountie (Nelson Eddy). But will his sense of duty foil their new romance?

Genres:

Review:
Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy’s second film together (after the success of Naughty Marietta in 1935) features one of the most (in)famous musical romance numbers in movie history — “Indian Love Call”:

Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo, Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo
When I’m calling you
Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo, Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo
Will you answer too?
Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo, Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo

Can you hear it? I’m sure you can. As seemingly interminable as this sequence is, the rest of the film also leaves much to be desired. MacDonald’s diva singer is simply insufferable (though her behavior is presented as acceptable and perhaps even expected), and her blind adoration for a murderous brother (Stewart, in his break-through role) merely lowers one’s opinion of her even further (then again, perhaps filial loyalty was considered such a virtue that this was overlooked). MacDonald’s romance with stiff-as-cardboard Nelson Eddy is as inconsequential as could be; we’re made to understand that two such compelling operatic voices simply must be together. Film fanatics may be curious to watch this film once, to hear “When I’m calling you…” in its original context — but it otherwise should be relegated to historical vaults.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • The iconic “Indian Love Call” sequence
  • Nice use of on-location shooting

Must See?
No — but do check out “Indian Love Call” on YouTube if you’ve never seen it. Listed as a film with Historical Importance in the back of Peary’s book.

Links:

One Response to “Rose-Marie (1936)”

  1. First viewing. Skip it.

    Nothing in this ridiculous flick really works and it’s unrelentingly dull (even if Eddy is slightly better in the acting department here). Anyone with any curiosity about the MacDonald/Eddy combo would be better off checking out ‘Naughty Marietta’ – it’s not a great film but at least it’s watchable. This isn’t; this is one, long, nicely produced but otherwise unbearably tedious slog.

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