Naughty Marietta (film)

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For the operetta, see Naughty Marietta (operetta). For the 1955 television version, see Naughty Marietta (television).
Naughty Marietta
Poster - Naughty Marietta 05.jpg
Lobby card
Directed by Robert Z. Leonard
W.S. Van Dyke
Produced by Hunt Stromberg
W.S. Van Dyke
Written by Frances Goodrich
Albert Hackett
John Lee Mahin
Starring Jeanette MacDonald
Nelson Eddy
Elsa Lanchester
Douglass Dumbrille
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Victor Herbert
Cinematography William H. Daniels
Edited by Blanche Sewell
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Release date(s)
  • 1935 (1935)
Running time 105 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $782,000[1]
Box office $1,058,000 (Domestic earnings)[1]
$999,000 (Foreign earnings)[1]

Naughty Marietta is a 1935 film based on the operetta Naughty Marietta by Victor Herbert. Jeanette MacDonald stars as a princess who flees an arranged marriage. She sails for New Orleans and is rescued from pirates by Captain Richard Warrington (Nelson Eddy).

Five of Victor Herbert's most famous songs come from the score of Naughty Marietta, with words by lyricist Rida Johnson Young:

  • "Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life"
  • "Italian Street Song"
  • "Neath the Southern Moon"
  • "I'm Falling in Love With Someone"
  • "Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! (Along the Highway)"

Additional lyrics for several of Herbert's songs were penned for the film by Gus Kahn. The film was written by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, John Lee Mahin and Rida Johnson Young.

Plot[edit]

To avoid an arranged marriage to Don Carlos, an elderly Spanish duke, Princess Marie masquerades as her uncle's former servant, Marietta, and escapes from France on a ship with casquette girls who are traveling to New Orleans to marry colonists. On board, Marietta befriends Julie.

En route, the women discuss what type of man they want to marry. "Marietta" shocks the other girls by stating that she does not intend to get married to anyone. Shortly after, the ship is boarded by pirates, who kill the entire crew and take the girls ashore.

After the pirates divide the loot, they turn their attention to the girls. Just then, singing is heard ("Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!"). The pirates extinguish their torches and fire to try to avoid detection, but Marietta takes one of the torches and runs towards the sound of the singing, crying out "help, help". Mercenaries rout the pirates and rescue the women.

The mercenaries' leader, Captain Richard Warrington, sings "Neath a Southern Moon" to Marietta. Despite his attraction to her, however, Warrington declares that he does not intend to get married.

Warrington and his men take the casquette girls to New Orleans, where they are welcomed by the Governor. The women are housed in the convent while they get to known their potential husbands. When some men approach Marietta, she declares that she does not want to marry any of them. The Governor feels that he has seen Marietta before in Paris, but she denies it. When she pretends to have a disreputable past, the Governor order a pair of soldiers to escort her away in disgrace. Warrington relieves them of their duty and finds her a place to stay, even paying the first month's rent. Though Marietta tries to rid herself of Warrington, he is undaunted. Just then, a group of gypsies stroll by, advertising their Marionette Theater. The gypsy leader, Rodolpho, has his daughter sing, and Warrington joins in ("Italian Street Song"). Stung by Warrington's remark that she might not be able to sing as well as the gypsy, Marietta surprises him by doing so beautifully. While he is distracted getting rid of three would-be suitors, she slips away.

The following day, Warrington discovers that Marietta is working at the Marionette Theater. When he visits her after the performance, Marietta tells him that his presence is "most unwelcome". The captain asks her if he would be welcome "somewhere else"; Marietta answers "yes". As she goes out for lunch, Warrington joins her, noting that he is "somewhere else", and "Here I am – welcome me". She is unable to suppress a smile, indicating she has changed her opinion of him. Soon after, however, a large award is offered for information about her whereabouts. Warrington persuades her to trust him, and takes her away by boat. During this time together, they discover that they are falling in love with each other ("I'm Falling in Love with Someone"). When Warrington asks Marietta to sing the song back to him, she says that she has a song she knows better. Later, however, they are found by French soldiers, and her true identity is revealed. Her uncle and Don Carlos are expected on the next ship to take her back.

Marietta is to attend a ball arranged by the Governor in her honor. Julie comes to see her; she tells Marietta that Warrington had been ordered to leave New Orleans that day, but intends to come to the ball. Her uncle warns her that "if Warrington attempted to see her again, he would be arrested for treason and shot". Marietta asks Julie to stop Warrington from coming, but they realize it is too late when they hear him and his men singing ("Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!").

When Warrington enters the ballroom, the Governor tries to get him to leave in order to save his life. After the captain dances with Marietta, she tells him that she will sing her song to him the following evening. She pretends to have been toying with him to deceive her uncle. When Warrington is leaving, Marietta sings "Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life", joined by Warrington. The lovers then flee to the wild frontier.

Cast[edit]

Awards[edit]

It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Douglas Shearer won the Academy Award for Sound for his work on the picture.[2] In 2003, was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

In popular culture[edit]

The song "Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life" was used in Mel Brooks' 1974 comedy Young Frankenstein, with parts of the refrain sung by the characters played by Madeline Kahn and Terri Garr. Both "Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life" and "Falling in Love With Someone" are used in the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie.

In the 4th season episode "Archie The Gambler" of All In the Family, "Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life" is sung by cast members Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner, and Sally Struthers. In the Woody Allen film Bananas, a political prisoner is tortured by being forced to listen to the score of Naughty Marietta over and over.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Turk, Edward Baron "Hollywood Diva: A Biography of Jeanette MacDonald" (University of California Press, 1998)
  2. ^ "The 8th Academy Awards (1936) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-08-07. 

External links[edit]