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Film / The Love Parade

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The Love Parade is a 1929 Musical Romantic Comedy film starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, directed by Ernst Lubitsch. The music is by Victor Schertzinger, with lyrics by Clifford Grey.

Count Alfred Renard, military attaché to the Sylvanian Embassy in Paris, is ordered back to Sylvania to report to Queen Louise for a reprimand following a string of scandals, including an affair with the ambassador's wife. In the meantime Queen Louise, ruler of Sylvania in her own right, is royally fed up with her subjects' preoccupation with whom she will marry. When Count Alfred returns in disgrace from Paris, the queen invites him to demonstrate his romantic prowess. The cabinet is pleased by their blossoming romance.

Louise and Alfred marry, but he soon is irked at having to take orders from his royal wife, though he is forced to keep up appearances because of financial negotiations with a foreign power. When he is ordered to attend the opening of the royal opera, Alfred refuses; he announces he is going to Paris to get a divorce and is cold to the queen's entreaties. But when she offers to make him king, he relents and they find happiness together.

The Love Parade contains examples of these tropes:

  • At the Opera Tonight: The opening of the royal opera is an important occasion for the queen and prince consort to show off their happy marriage. It doesn't quite work out that way.
  • Bathtub Scene: Louise bathes in a luxurious marble semi-sunken bathtub as she chats with her ladies-in-waiting.
  • Beta Couple: Jacques, Alfred's valet, and Lulu, the queen's maid, provide a plebeian contrast to the aristocratic Alpha Couple. Alfred and Louise's dogs may be said to be the Gamma Couple.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The opening scene and Alfred's Foreign Language Tirades are all in French without subtitles.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Most of the opening scene is in French, but the bit where Alfred looks at the camera and says "Her husband!" isn't.
  • The Casanova: Three of them. In the song "Paris, Stay the Same," Alfred sings about all the romantic nights he's had with the ladies of Paris. Then Jacques sings about his romantic nights with the maids and shopgirls of Paris. Then Alfred's dog barks out a verse, which is pretty clearly the same sentiment, but about the, er, bitches of Paris.
  • Dark Reprise: Louise first sings "Dream Lover" about a literal dream of an ideal man. She reprises it sadly after Alfred announces he is leaving her.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Alfred explains that he developed a French accent after spending a lot of time with his doctor's wife.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: Queen Louise's beaded wedding gown.
  • Foreign-Language Tirade: Alfred periodically lets off steam by ranting in French...after making sure that the person he's with doesn't speak the language.
  • Gay Paree: The story starts there.
  • Gender Flip: The scene where Queen Louise comes back from a hard day of work and Prince Alfred complains that he's bored at home and never sees anyone mimics a typical conversation between a male breadwinner and a Housewife.
  • Gratuitous French: Lots of it. The entire first scene is mostly unsubtitled French, though even if you don't speak the language, the events are pretty clear.
  • Happy Marriage Charade: Alfred and Louise have to hide the strain in their relationship to avoid a scandal that could ruin the country.
  • Henpecked Husband: Alfred has to promise to love, honor, and obey Louise. It starts to wear thin very quickly.
  • Leg Focus: The movie spends a good amount of time displaying Louise's legs. In addition to to the transparent skirt, the camera lingers on her bare leg as she dips a toe into her bath to test the water. Later, to prove to the cabinet that a man might want to marry her for reasons beyond the political, she hikes up her skirt to show them her legs.
  • Ms. Fanservice: In Louise's first scene, she sings while prancing around in a low-cut nightgown with a transparent skirt. Then she takes a bath onscreen, showing quite a bit of skin in the process. Is it any surprise this film is from The Pre-Code Era?
  • Portent of Doom: Alfred says that seeing a cross-eyed person is bad luck for him. On the morning of his wedding, everyone he sees (including the portrait on one of his medals) is cross-eyed.