NAUGHTY MARIETTA was previously released by the Archive as a single title, but this time around it's the lead film in the four-movie, four-DVD Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy Collection, Volume One. The other films in this set are ROSE-MARIE (1936), MAYTIME (1937), and THE GIRL OF THE GOLDEN WEST (1938). A second volume from the Archive contains four additional MacDonald-Eddy films.
Jeanette plays Princess Marie of France, soon to be forced by her evil uncle (Douglass Dumbrille) to marry the foppish Don Carlos of Spain. Don Carlos is flamboyantly played by Walter Kingsford, who was later the staid Dr. Carew of the Dr. Kildare series.
Marietta and the Captain spar and sing as he tries to figure out this unusual girl's story, and gradually they fall in love. Then her uncle arrives in pursuit...
NAUGHTY MARIETTA was Jeanette and Nelson's first film together, and for this fan of musicals it was pure bliss. They're simply charming together; Jeanette was always a firecracker on screen, spunky, funny, and with charisma to spare, and Nelson doesn't get nearly enough credit. He's a lot of fun and strikes plenty of sparks with his leading lady. I think those who remember him as "wooden" must be the same people who claim John Gilbert had a high-pitched speaking voice.
Elsa Lanchester threatens to steal the show as the jealous wife of the inept governor (Frank Morgan). The cast also includes Akim Tamiroff, Cecilia Parker, Edward Brophy, and Harold Huber.
NAUGHTY MARIETTA was directed by the curiously uncredited W.S. Van Dyke and Robert Z. Leonard. The cinematographer was William H. Daniels.
The Warner Archive print was for the most part excellent, although there was one scene where there were a couple of brief but extremely noticeable tears which I assume it wasn't possible to repair, at least within the Archive's budget.
The extras from the previous release of NAUGHTY MARIETTA were included, including a trailer and an "audio vault" with recordings and a Lux Radio Theater program. The other three films in the set have the trailer included on each DVD but no other extras. I will be posting reviews of ROSE-MARIE, MAYTIME, and THE GIRL OF THE GOLDEN WEST in the future.
There was a minor defect on my NAUGHTY MARIETTA disc, inasmuch as the main menu did not light up in any fashion as I navigated the options to play the movie, the trailer, or access the "audio vault." However, if I arrowed up and down with my remote and clicked "play" periodically, everything was there, I just couldn't "see" where I was going as I navigated. The options in the audio vault menu worked normally, with a colored symbol lighting up next to each title as I navigated.
The set I received for review consisted of silver-backed pressed discs. The Archive typically presses discs for the initial sales of sets which are expected to sell in large numbers, and the pressed sets are available only from the WBShop, not other vendors.
Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD collection. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.