Love Me Tonight is a 1932 Musical Romantic Comedy film starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, directed by Rouben Mamoulian. Charles Ruggles and Myrna Loy play supporting roles. The music is by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Lorenz Hart.
Struggling Parisian tailor Maurice Courtelin (Chevalier) finds he has been bilked on a bill for fifteen suits by the Vicomte Gilbert de Varèze (Ruggles). When he discovers that the vicomte has a bad reputation with tailors all over Paris, Maurice becomes outraged and sets out for the Château d'Artelines to collect his bill. Along the road, Princess Jeanette (MacDonald) narrowly avoids a collision of her buggy with Maurice's car. Maurice immediately falls in love with Jeanette and, although flustered and haughty, she is delighted by him. Neither one is aware of the other's social status.
To gain time to get the money for the bill, Gilbert invites Maurice to stay for a few days and introduces him as "Baron Courtelin," thereby enabling him to join the other guests of rank. Maurice is fearful of this scheme at first, but changes his mind when he sees Jeanette. Others at the chateau include Gilbert's uncle, the Duc d'Artelines; the duc's man-hungry niece Valentine (Loy); and Jeanette's ineffectual suitor, the Comte de Savignac.
While staying at the castle, Maurice arouses Valentine's desire, charms the rest of the family except for Jeanette, saves a deer's life during a hunt, and continues to woo Jeanette. The Comte de Savignac discovers that Maurice's title is fake, but Gilbert then hints that Maurice is a royal who is traveling incognito for security reasons. Finally, Jeanette succumbs to Maurice's charms at a costume ball, and the two pledge their love in the garden. This is followed by a "dream duet" (the title song) in which a Split Screen makes it appear that the two are sleeping side by side.
The next day, after Maurice criticizes Jeanette's dressmaker, the family confronts him for his rudeness—only to catch him and Jeanette alone with Jeanette partially undressed. Maurice explains that he is redesigning Jeanette's riding outfit, and he proves this by successfully altering it, but in the process he is forced to reveal his true identity. Jeanette recoils from him and runs to her room on hearing that he is a commoner. The entire household is outraged, and Maurice leaves.
However, as a train carries him back to Paris, Jeanette realizes her mistake and catches up to the train on horseback, shouting that she would love to be a tailor's wife. Maurice does not accept this proclamation, so Jeanette rides ahead and stands on the tracks. The train stops, Maurice jumps out, and the two lovers embrace as steam from the train envelops them.
Love Me Tonight provides examples of the following tropes:
- Ambiguous Syntax: A classic exchange between Gilbert and Valentine after Jeanette has a fainting spell.Gilbert: Valentine, can you go for a doctor?
Valentine: Certainly! Bring him right in!
- Crash-Into Hello: Zigzagged in that Jeanette's buggy doesn't actually hit Maurice's car—but it does spill her into the ditch, leading to their first meeting.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Jeanette.
- Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: Jeanette has another fainting spell in the garden at the costume ball. Maurice kisses her until she wakes up-whereupon she slaps him.
- Fake Aristocrat: Maurice. Interestingly, he doesn't change his behavior at all; the assumption that he's a Blue Blood is enough for the guests.
- Friend to All Living Things: Maurice Courtelin rescued a deer from being hunted and killed during the hunt.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the song "Lover," Jeanette sings about her romantic longings while occasionally breaking off to shout at her horse. (Possibly more about getting crap past her personal radar than the censors, as this film dates from The Pre-Code Era.)"Kiss me," he'll be saying
gently swaying, I'll obey
like two children playing
- The Grand Hunt: There's an example of a stag hunt with all the elements: formal hunting clothes, horn-blowing, hounds, servants everywhere, etc.
- For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: While the wealthy guests wear sumptuous, elaborate costumes to the ball, Maurice wears his everyday casual suit, turtleneck, and flat cap.
- Gilded Cage: Gilbert and Valentine regard the Big Fancy Castle as this, since the duc won't allow them to go enjoy the pleasures of Gay Paree.
- Healing Potion: Jeanette's aunts seem to be brewing one in an early scene, but we never see her drink it.
- "The Hero Sucks" Song: "The Son-of-a-Gun is Nothing But a Tailor."
- High Class Gloves: Worn by both Jeanette (white) and Valentine (black) at the costume ball.
- "I Want" Song:
- "Isn't It Romantic?" starts with Maurice singing about having a wife who will cook, clean, wash his back, and provide him with lots of kiddies. Later, Jeanette sings to the same melody about her more idealized vision of a perfect man.
- "Lover," which Jeanette is singing just before she nearly collides with Maurice's car, also qualifies.
- Love at First Sight: Maurice for Jeanette.
- Meaningful Name: For the hunt, Maurice is offered a horse named Solitude—so called because he always comes home alone.
- Mistaken for Servant: Maurice finds the duc polishing a suit of armor. He asks where he can find the Vicomte de Varèze and adds, "Is this your only job?" Fortunately, the duc either doesn't notice or doesn't take offense at the question.
- Ms. Fanservice: Jeanette has two scenes in her underwear. When she first strips for the doctor's exam, the camera takes a moment to pan from head to toe appreciatively.
- One-Woman Song: "Mimi" (sung to Jeanette).
- Peeping Tom: Valentine bores holes in a door so she can watch Maurice change clothes for the ball. So, more like Peeping... Tammy?Duc: That door has come down to us through generations.
Valentine: So have my instincts.
- Penny Among Diamonds: Maurice. Lampshaded by his costume for the Masquerade Ball.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Many of them at the ball, but Valentine's eighteenth-century-style dress is particularly noteworthy.
- Prince Charming: Subverted. As Jeanette's three aunts say at the end of the film:"Once upon a time, there was a princess and a Prince Charming..."
"Who was not a prince..."
"But who was charming!"
- Really Gets Around: Valentine would, if only she had the opportunity.Jeanette: Do you ever think of anything but men, dear?
- Rich Boredom: Valentine is so bored that she spends much of her time napping.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Jeanette's stated that she's often done some hunting, who she's not doing princess duties.
- Title Drop: Maurice to Jeanette in the garden.Maurice: Listen, my beautiful princess, I love you! I love you! And whatever comes tomorrow, love me tonight. Love me tonight!