'Jeanette MacDonald Hollywood Diva'
Jeanette MacDonald had the good luck to make her screen debut with Ernst Lubitsch, who cast her as a lead in The Love Parade (1929). Under his tutelage he'd fallen in love with her and it showed she bloomed as few performers do in a first film. MacDonald was not classically beautiful, but she had enormous charm, a bewitching smile, and an accomplished soprano voice. Teamed with Maurice Chevalier at Paramount and later with Nelson Eddy at MGM, she developed into a major musical star. With the exception of Lubitsch's exquisite The Merry Widow (1934), none of MacDonald's post-Code MGM films gave her a chance to display the comic talents that were integral to her earlier work at Paramount, the most sophisticated Hollywood studio. At white-bread MGM, she thrived as the matronly heroine of family-fare operettas, ideal escapist flicks for Depression audiences. The highlight of the 12-film series is a far more complex movie from 1932: Rouben Mamoulian's enchanting modern fairy tale Love Me Tonight.
Get the Film Club Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.