Jul 7, 2014

Maurice Chevalier, The Love Parade


I knew there was something different about Maurice Chevalier in The Love Parade from his very first scene...and I liked it. Where he was at first a virtuous and proper Parisian in The Big Pond, he is now a smooth and cunning man-whore (and who can resist a little dose of illicitness?). In place of those wholesome smiles from The Big Pond are sly smirks, and he quite literally seems more at home with playing the Count (he even gets to spew out rapid-fire lines in French on a number of occasions). The Love Parade makes use of the imaging of an exotic European who is suave, drips with sex appeal, and lifts us off our feet...and both the picture as well as Ernst Lubitsch utilize Chevalier's strengths (his good looks, his musical performance abilities, his exoticism) and weaknesses (his exoticism, lack of acting ability) quite well, tying them all together into a performance that mostly keeps pace with an rather peculiar and zany picture. I'm still unsure of how capable Chevalier is at true acting, but his work here is still pretty solid and he managed to keep me smiling for most of the film with his effortless charm and his myriad of quick and witty facial expressions. The performance teeters a bit in terms of consistency, as I was much more engaged with Chevalier in the first half of the film as opposed to the second half, but regardless it is still an amusing piece of work in an amusing film, both of which I wouldn't mind revisiting at another time.

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