The Chocolate Soldier

1941

Comedy / Musical / Romance

0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 29%
IMDb Rating 6.2 10 256

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 24, 2021 at 09:23 AM

Director

Cast

Risë Stevens as Maria Lanyi
Terry as Dog
Nigel Bruce as Bernard Fischer
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
933.49 MB
968*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 41 min
P/S counting...
1.69 GB
1440*1072
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 41 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 7 / 10

"I Am Just a Chocolate Soldier Man in a Uniform so Pretty."

After their seventh teaming in Bittersweet did not fare as well in the box office the previous year, MGM decided to split Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald for their next films. Nelson was given his choice of leading lady and he picked Rise Stevens of the Metropolitan Opera.

If nothing else, Louis B. Mayer prided himself on bringing class to the cinema and he never met a diva he didn't want to sign for MGM. Eddy, who didn't really get along with Mayer and was soon to leave MGM after a spat with him, I think knew just how much it would cost to sign someone from the outside and he made Mayer spend the dough.

Rise Stevens had appeared with him on radio so Nelson's motives weren't completely to hurt Mayer financially. They worked well together here and maybe they could have been a screen team themselves. Rise Stevens had a good gift for comedy, very much like that other singer/actress Irene Dunne. But after The Chocolate Soldier and an appearance in Going My Way with Bing Crosby, she left the silver screen.

Like the Eddy/MacDonald feature Sweethearts this utilizes the music, but not the plot. Like Sweethearts the leads are appearing on stage in The Chocolate Soldier, but it's a backstage story for the plot. And the plot used is The Guardsman which MGM owned the rights to, having filmed it in 1931 with Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontanne.

Eddy and Stevens look so good and sing so beautifully on stage, but that doesn't account for Eddy's all consuming jealousy over his wife. His Othello act doesn't even need an Iago for a boost, he's creating all kinds of imaginary lovers for Stevens. Finally he decides to put her to the test, playing a phony Russian opera singer with beard and Cossack costume. Stevens however is up to the challenge and it's a pretty funny film that follows.

The two leads have some nice duets together, particularly the My Hero duet from Oscar Straus's Chocolate Soldier. But the big hits of this film are Moussorgsky's Song of the Flea and another song While My Lady Sleeps written by Bronislau Kaper and Gus Kahn. Both were standard items in Nelson Eddy concerts. Eddy recorded both, however the version I have of the Song of the Flea is in English and in The Chocolate Soldier, Nelson sings it in the original Russian.

It was a good teaming Eddy and Stevens and since right after this Jeanette and Nelson would be doing their last film together, I Married an Angel, it's unfortunate Stevens and Eddy did not do a few more films together themselves.

Reviewed by eschetic 7 / 10

Neither fish nor fowl, but good red fun!

Those who actually KNOW Oscar Straus's original operetta will have a great time watching how MGM turned somersaults using it as the show-within-a-show that Nelson Eddy and Risë Stevens (who would later record the original operetta for RCA) are performing "on stage" in this musical film trading on the famous show's title when they couldn't get the rights to film the full show.

The history of the original operetta is fairly well known: Straus wanted to adapt one of G.B. Shaw's earliest and arguably funniest plays, ARMS AND THE MAN to the operetta stage. Shaw was amenable but doubted the result would work and didn't want to undercut the ongoing royalty stream of one of his most successful plays (it is regularly performed to this day).

In compromise, Shaw demanded a number of conditions: 1) they WOULD use his basic plot (in fact the authors and Stanislaus Strange in his English language translation shoehorned most of Shaw's interpersonal comedy into the first and third acts of their operetta but omitted almost entirely the Fabian class comedy Shaw held dear to his heart), 2) they would not use any of the original character names or a single actual LINE of his dialogue, 3) all programs for productions in England had to carry the producers apologies to Shaw "for this unauthorized PARODY of one of his plays." 4) In return for these concessions, Shaw would decline ANY royalties for the operetta (but reserved the right to hate the result - which he did - probably at least in part as a result of the fortune he had declined on principle). Straus and company happily accepted the deal.

As Shaw expected, the operetta left out most of his best and funniest ideas; to his great surprise, it retained ENOUGH and had music GOOD enough that it was an enormous success anyway.

In 1940, when MGM wanted to continue their series of successful operetta films with Nelson Eddy, they found they had to approach the still very active Shaw - who had won an Oscar for Best Screenplay just two years before for his adaptation of his own play, PYGMALION. The great man was willing to be persuaded but unenthusiastic. He really didn't like the bowdlerization of one of his best perennial plays.

MGM had hoped/expected to snap up the rights to the old show on the cheap, but Shaw was not to be shortchanged. No deal could be struck on terms as cheap as MGM wanted. Still, MGM HAD the rights to the music and lyrics and the famous title so they went ahead anyway.

Technically they used Molnar's play THE GUARDSMAN as the basis for their film (it's really a generic but funny "jealous husband tests wife's fidelity with a masquerade she sees through" tale that's as old as the hills and Lubitch did it better in the 30's), but they didn't bother trying to adapt it to the old score.

Instead, they justified the TITLE and score they had bought by having the leads fairly obviously performing the operetta on stage between the off-stage comedy scenes (the credits in the opening "crawl" are among the most bizarre you will see anywhere). They just didn't show the plot scenes from the operetta and near the end rather outrageously had Eddy's character play the Second Act Finale from the operetta on the Act I set and in a brand new costume to make an offstage point - as if the audience in the theatre in the film wouldn't notice (watch the reactions of the delightful Nigel Bruce, tossed in as the befuddled best friend/observer).

MGM might as well have done DIE FLEDERMAUS for the same basic story and even better music, but what they got was and remains good fun - and Eddy wasn't ever up to a ...FLEDERMAUS in vocal or acting ability. Risë Stevens, a more down to earth actress than the bubbly MacDonald who usually left Eddy in the dust (and with a singing voice every bit as good), proved to be a solid, believable acting partner for him and (together with a relatively solid comedy book) makes Eddy seem to give one of his best performances on screen.

It's our loss that the declining popularity of Eddy and the quality of his vehicles deprived us of more pairings with Stevens who was so perfect for him. MacDonald was back for I MARRIED AN ANGEL (1942), he really didn't have a leading lady for the Claude Rains PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1943) or KNICKERBOCKER HOLIDAY (1944) and then, except for NORTHWEST OUTPOST (1947), it was all but over.

Now that both are in the public domain, it would be wonderful to get actual movies of ARMS AND THE MAN (the original 1932 British film has not been seen in years) and the *real* CHOCOLATE SOLDIER (there was a 1915 silent film of the 1909 operetta co-directed by the American translator) with the Stanislaus Strange libretto out of Shaw, but until they are appear, this hybrid comedy with healthy glimpses of an over produced version of the original is good fun.

Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird 8 / 10

Lavish production values, phenomenal music and two sublime lead performances, in general a real musical treat of a film!

I heard so much about The Chocolate Soldier from watching clips of both Nelson Eddy and Rise Stevens on YouTube and people telling me how good it was, and desperately I wanted to see it. I finally saw it, and you know what, I wasn't disappointed.

I will agree that the story about a man suspecting his wife of infidelity is predictable and creaks with age, and the choreography at times was disappointingly unexciting and pedestrian. But putting these flaws aside, this is a truly beautiful and entertaining film. One thing for certain, the production values were simply fabulous. The lavish costumes and beautiful sets were really a wonder to look at. The score is phenomenal, featuring some Oscar Strauss hits like My Hero, Thank the Lord the War is Over, Sympathy and of course the Chocolate Soldier, and some well known opera gems like Mon Couer s'oeuvre a Ta voix from Saint Saens's Samson and Delilah and Evening Star from Wagner's Tannhauser. While my Lady Sleeps was stunning too, but the real highlight was the enormously entertaining Song of the Flea. The performances were sublime; while the beautiful Rise Stevens is probably at her loveliest and sings beautifully, it is the wonderful undervalued Nelson Eddy who steals the show with his beautiful resonant voice and flawless comic timing and stage presence. Nigel Bruce and Florence Bates are good too.

All in all, a beautiful film. Not perfect, but the production values, score and performances make it a treat. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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