Among the most-requested movies from DVD collectors around the world is Rose Marie (1936), and continues to be one of the most popular works of screen singing team Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. The 1954 version of Rose Marie starring Ann Blyth and Howard Keel has been available to musical fans but this is the first time ever on DVD for the original ’36 version.
Rose-Marie stars MacDonald as a spoiled opera star from Canada who heads to a log cabin in the northern wilderness where her brother (James Stewart) is hiding out after escaping from prison. While on her journey, MacDonald meets and takes a liking to handsome Mountie (Nelson Eddy) who happens to be assigned to track down her sibling. Along with the memorable “Indian Love Call” (when Jeanette sings ‘I am calling you oo-oo-oo’), this classic also features such songs as “Just for You”,”Some of These Days,” and the title song. David Niven, Reginald Owen, Allan Jones and Gilda Gray are featured in supporting roles.
As an added treat, MGM has also released Maytime (1937), another popular gem from the iconic singing team. Told in flashback style, Maytime showcases MacDonald as a popular European opera singer in the 1860s. She accepts a marriage proposal from her voice instructor (John Barrymore), but eventually falls for handsome crooner (Eddy). Although she sticks with Barrymore, seven years later, she discovers that the leading baritone playing opposite her in her new operatic vehicle is none other than her beloved Nelson. Based on an operetta by Sigmund Romberg and featuring selections composed by Wagner, Verdi, Rossini and others, Maytime was one of the best received of the MacDonald-Eddy collaborations and the actress/singer’s favorite of the eight films she made with Eddy.
Rose Marie and Maytime are made available exclusively at Movies Unlimited in conjunction with The Warner Archive Collection. Previously, we proudly presented these other classic musicals from MacDonald and Eddy, either starring together or in solo performances:
Naughty Marietta (1935): Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald first teamed in this lively Victor Herbert operetta about the romance between a swaggering soldier and a French princess. Determined to avoid an arranged marriage, the royal takes on her maid’s identity and hops aboard a cargo ship headed to New Orleans. But when the vessel is hijacked by pirates, she unexpectedly finds love with her rescuer. With Frank Morgan, Elsa Lanchester; songs include “Live for Today,” “Tramp, Tramp, Tramp,” “Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life,” and more.
Rosalie (1937): The music of Cole Porter highlights this romantic musical featuring Nelson Eddy as a football star and West Point cadet who falls for a beautiful young woman (Eleanor Powell) who turns out to be a European princess. Edna May Oliver, Frank Morgan, and Ray Bolger co-star. Songs include the title tune, “Who Knows?,” “I’ve a Strange New Rhythm in My Heart,” “In the Still of the Night,” and more.
The Firefly (1937): Glowing musical set during the Napoleonic War stars Jeanette MacDonald as a spy who poses as a singer in a Madrid cafe in order to learn Napoleon’s military secrets. She attempts to enlist wealthy Spaniard Allan Jones to her cause, and romantic and political intrigues ensue. With Warren William, Douglass Dumbrille; songs include “The Donkey Serenade,” “A Woman’s Kiss.”
Sweethearts (1938): The time-worn stage chestnut is a “play-within-a-film” for this frothy Jeanette MacDonald/Nelson Eddy musical comedy, written by Dorothy Parker and Alan Campbell. MacDonald and Eddy play a married acting couple who plan to leave Broadway for Hollywood, but impresario Frank Morgan plots to stop them. With Ray Bolger, Florence Rice, and Mischa Auer.
Balalaika (1939): Nelson Eddy is a Russian prince who falls in love with cafe singer Ilona Massey and arranges for her to perform at the Royal Opera, but her debut is rudely interrupted when the Russian Revolution erupts. Years later, the two reunite in Paris, where Eddy has gained fame as a crooner. Features the songs “Tanya,” “Ride, Cossack, Ride,” and a classic rendition of “Stille Nacht (Silent Night).”
Broadway Serenade (1939): In this romantic musical, poor entertainer Lew Ayres takes a job in Europe, leaving singing wife Jeanette MacDonald in the States. But an affair between MacDonald and Ian Hunter, the crafty financial wizard behind Ayres’ show, sends hubby into a tirade, and eventually inspires him to write a hit operetta. A host of opera favorites are featured along with musical numbers staged by Busby Berkeley.
Bitter Sweet (1940): The music of Noel Coward and the seventh screen pairing of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald are the ingredients for movie magic. The duo is struggling to make ends meet in 1880s Vienna, but singer MacDonald’s patron (George Sanders) has amorous intentions that lead music teacher Eddy to challenge him to a duel. With Ian Hunter, Felix Bressart. Songs include “I’ll See You Again,” “Kiss Me,” “Love in Any Language,” and more.
Smilin’ Through (1941): Real-life husband/wife duo Jeanette MacDonald and Gene Raymond star in this music-filled melodrama, the third adaptation of the play by Jane Cowl and Jane Murfin. An orphaned girl (MacDonald) falls in love with a handsome stranger (Raymond), only to find their romance threatened by a tragic connection between Raymond’s father and MacDonald’s late aunt. Brian Aherne co-stars; songs include the title tune, “Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes,” “Land of Hope and Glory,” and more.
I Married An Angel (1942): In their final film together, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy make heavenly music together. Playboy banker Eddy thinks he’s found the girl of his dreams in MacDonald, but is she (literally) an angel in disguise? Edward Everett Horton, Binnie Barnes, Reginald Owen co-star; the songs include such Rodgers and Hart offerings as “Spring Is Here,” “A Twinkle In Your Eye,” and the title tune.
And now enjoy Jeanette and Nelson in the theatrical trailer from 1940’s Bitter Sweet, but please note the DVD release of Bitter Sweet has been restored to its original brilliance, whereas the trailer has not: