Saturday, June 06, 2009

Tonight's Movie: Cafe Metropole (1937)

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive..."

This line certainly fits the complicated plotline of the very amusing CAFE METROPOLE, which stars Tyrone Power as a Princeton man forced to impersonate a Russian prince, Loretta Young as an American heiress, and Adolphe Menjou as an embezzling restaurateur.

It's impossible to concisely explain more without giving away too much of the movie, but suffice it to say that the film takes fans of classic romantic comedy on a great ride. The film has the added plus of two impossibly gorgeous leads, and Loretta in particular makes the most of her well-written role.

The script moves along at a sprightly pace and doesn't waste viewers' time with the kinds of romantic misunderstandings which would be all too easy to fall back on in a film of this type. The film feels quite original and is fun from start to finish.

The excellent supporting cast includes Charles Winninger as Loretta's father and Helen Westley, who has a ball as her maiden aunt. Leonid Kinskey turns up for a scene as a restaurant artist.

CAFE METROPOLE is one of five films costarring Power and Young, all released between 1936 and 1938. The other films are LADIES IN LOVE (1936), LOVE IS NEWS (1937), SECOND HONEYMOON (1937), and SUEZ (1938). Reviews of LOVE IS NEWS and SECOND HONEYMOON can be found at the end of this post.

The film was directed by Edward H. Griffith, and Jacques Deval's witty screenplay is based on a story by actor-director Gregory Ratoff, who also plays Paul.

The movie was shot in black and white and runs 83 minutes. It has excellent production values; the title set is beautifully designed, and Young's gowns by Royer are exceptionally lovely.

CAFE METROPOLE is available on DVD as part of the Tyrone Power Matinee Idol Collection. Extras include production stills and two deleted scenes with dances by Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. The first dance in particular is outstanding, but it's easy to understand why the scenes were cut, as they don't do anything to advance the storyline. It's terrific that they have been preserved and can now be shared with the public.

Reviews of other films in this boxed DVD set: GIRLS' DORMITORY (1936), LOVE IS NEWS (1937), SECOND HONEYMOON (1937), DAY-TIME WIFE (1939), THAT WONDERFUL URGE (1948), THE LUCK OF THE IRISH (1948), and I'LL NEVER FORGET YOU (1951).

I only have two films left to watch in this set and have enjoyed each and every title; CAFE METROPOLE is no exception. Highly recommended for fans of Power, Young, and '30s romantic comedies.


Blogger Maricatrin said...

[1. Perfectly on target review, which made me want to see the film, which I did, and which I enjoyed very, very much! And I agree: Loretta certainly didn't waste any time with misunderstandings, she was a girl with strength of purpose;-) And I loved the comic aspect of Tyrone trying to keep up the Russian masquerade (Deenameet??) [2. I kept thinking that Adolph's partner looked (and sounded) so familiar. I couldn't place him at first, but then it hit me... Geppetto! This might be the first time I've recognized a real live actor as a cartoon character. [3. Lastly, I would like to share a little music video I made for the film, here's hoping I get the html right, and that other fan's will enjoy it: Home

8:16 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Maricatrin, I'm so glad you shared your video with my readers, the link works perfectly and the video itself is just lovely. It really captures why Ty and Loretta are probably my favorite actor and actress. It also called to mind that when I interviewed Coleen Gray she said that Tyrone Power and Loretta Young were her "King" and "Queen" when she was a little girl growing up on the farm. (Imagine later getting to star with Tyrone Power!!) I shared the link on my Twitter account in the hopes that other fans will discover it.

I'm glad you enjoyed both the review and the film -- I need to start watching that Tyrone Power set all over again, it's probably my favorite set of all time.

Best wishes,

7:29 PM  
Blogger Maricatrin said...

Laura, I'm absolutely delighted that you liked the video, and thanks so much for sharing it on your twitter account, what a surprise! I was wondering where the extra views were coming from:-) I've always loved Ty in Mark of Zorro and Luck of the Irish, but I recently realized that there are many of his films I have yet to see, and I fully intend to rectify that;-) I'm even less familiar with Loretta Young's filmography, but I think it's time to get more acquainted with her work as well (and your reviews should provide an excellent guide:-)

Thanks again!

1:30 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Maricatrin, I'm glad if I could help direct some fellow fans your way to enjoy the video. :)

If you haven't come across it already, you might like to visit this Loretta Young tribute post which links to reviews of many of her films at the bottom.

You also might enjoy reading about my chat with Loretta's daughter-in-law, and there's another post linked at the bottom about her centennial tribute.

And here are lots of Tyrone Power links if you'd like to use them to help identify films you'd like to check out. Most of the reviews list the various sources for locating films at the bottom of the post. I love to share "good stuff" to enjoy with others!

Best wishes,

7:37 PM  
Blogger Maricatrin said...

Sorry Laura, I thought I had enabled the 'email notification' option, but I guess I didn't! I'm glad I suddenly thought to check this page today.

Thanks very much for providing all the links, so thoughtful of you:-) I'm going to check them out now.

All the best,

2:22 PM  

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