Ernst Lubitsch’s 1929 film “The Love Parade,” features romantic comedy at its finest, with playful adult situations and a score full of catchy numbers. The deftly acted and directed film features Maurice Chevalier as Count Alfred Renard, a confirmed ladies man who marries Queen Louise (Jeannette MacDonald) of Sylvania. Count Renard soon realizes that as the Prince Consort of Sylvania, he holds no power and must kowtow to the Queen. MacDonald’s Queen Louise makes him a virtual prisoner in the palace while she wields power in a mythical and seemingly trouble-free kingdom.
The musical numbers include a few duets involving MacDonald and Chevalier, but other singers join the action too, including Lupino Lane, who plays Count Renard’s manservant Jacques. He sings a humorous and very acrobatic song called “Let’s Be Common” with the lovely Lillian Roth, who plays a maid named Lulu. I love Jeanette MacDonald but I sometimes don’t enjoy her extremely operatic style. Lubitsch did an amazing technical job for a sound film at it’s time, but I couldn’t understand some of the words sung by Queen Louise. Lubitsch kept me laughing throughout with the sophisticated dialogue and the subtle ways he implies sexuality. MacDonald and Chevalier take knowing smiles to new levels in this thoroughly enjoyable piece.