One Hour With You (1932)

“My wife thinks I am a darling, and my wife’s friend thinks I’m cute. It’s a terrible situation — but I am determined not to weaken. We’ll see!”

OHWY Poster

Synopsis:
A happily married man (Maurice Chevalier) finds himself seduced by his wife’s flirtatious friend Mitzi (Genevieve Tobin); meanwhile, his unsuspecting wife (Jeanette MacDonald) is pursued by their friend Adolph (Charles Ruggles), and Mitzi’s suspicious husband (Roland Young) has his wife followed.

Genres:

Review:
This frothy musical romance — a remake of director Ernst Lubitsch’s The Marriage Circle (1924) (both were based on Lothar Schmidt’s play Only a Dream) — was the third onscreen pairing of Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, who also co-starred together in The Love Parade (1929), Love Me Tonight (1932), and The Merry Widow (1934). One Hour With You is primarily notable for its popular theme song (which today comes across as rather forgettable), intermittent use of rhyming couplets in the dialogue, and several to-the-camera asides by Chevalier (who — being such an eminently likable fellow — is portrayed as merely a gullible pawn in the hands of scheming Mitzi). Indeed, Mitzi — a backstabbing woman who continues to gleefully pursue Chevalier despite learning that he is her best friend’s husband — is the true “villain” of the film; unfortunately, we’re never given the satisfaction of a meaningful confrontation between the two women. Also frustrating is how similar two of the leading actors — Ruggles and Young — look; at times I’ll admit I got them confused. Ultimately, One Hour With You remains little more than a minor romantic souffle, entertaining while it lasts but nothing more.

P.S. Though George Cukor was formally hired to direct One Hour, producer Ernst Lubitsch ordered so many scenes to be reshot that he’s given co-directing credit.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Chevalier and MacDonald’s easy, natural banter together
    OHWY Banter

Must See?
No, unless you’re a die-hard Jeanette MacDonald fan (as so many apparently are — click here to read about her international fan club.)

Links:

One Response to “One Hour With You (1932)”

  1. Agreed, not a must, but certainly a pleasant-enough diversion.

    More memorable than the theme song is Chevalier’s rendition of ‘Oh, That Mitzi!’ What puts his delivery over is how he punches the title each time with a wide-eyed, perturbed-yet-fascinated look.

    I’ve seen Ruggles and Young in so many films that I didn’t have that much of a problem distinguishing between them (but I can see where that might be a problem for some). I was particularly impressed with Ruggles here, as I don’t think I’ve ever seen him lovestruck in a role before.

    The movie really is a bit of piffle – even in its more ‘scandalous’ moments. Harmless fluff but, yes, somewhat forgettable after.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.