Smiling Lieutenant The (1931)

Smiling Lieutenant The (1931)

An excellent Best Picture Oscar nominated film by director Ernst Lubitsch with Maurice Chevalier in the title role. Charles Ruggles plays Max who is in love with biergarten violinist Franzi played by Claudette Colbert. Unfortunately Max “introduces” his friend (Chevalier) to Franzi and loses her. Shortly thereafter the smiling Chevalier is winking at her while on duty as a visiting king and his daughter the princess (Miriam Hopkins) are passing by in their carriage. The princess who has a chip on her shoulder anyway thinks the wink is for her and is insulted. However when Chevalier charms his way out of it he inadvertantly causes the princess to fall for him and ends up in an arranged marriage to her (to help keep the peace between the two neighboring countries). Franzi follows the Lieutenant to his new home country and they continue their affair. However when Franzi meets the princess they become “friends” with Franzi helping her to become more attractive to her husband. The best scenes in the film IMO include this and “the rest of the story”.

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