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Rose-Marie (1936)

Rose-Marie (1936)

Jeanette MacDonald is Marie de Flor a temperamental opera singer who’s just completed a performance playing Juliet in the fated lover classic from Shakespeare (note the theme;-) Allan Jones played Romeo. When she returns to her dressing room she is angered when she smells that her suitor (David Niven) has been smoking in there something she doesn’t tolerate. In fact she pretty much “rules the roost” and is the “toast of the town” in Montreal Canada. After throwing him out she fusses with her attendant (Una O’Connor) who gives her a letter from her brother in prison whose parole has just been denied again. Enter her agent (Reginald Owen) who insists she sees some people after the show which she refuses until she finds out that one of them is the Premier (Alan Mowbray). She then becomes the epitome of graciousness inviting the Premier and his party to her hotel room one which even impresses him with its lavishness. Her staff is terrified of her and used to her nature (“close the window quickly before she notices”) but is surprised as she charms the Premier presumably working up to asking him to pardon her brother.

After she sings a song chosen by the Premier however she receives a ring her brother’s from a messenger he has sent to her hotel. Upon meeting with the messenger an Indian in her room she learns that her brother has escaped from prison killing a Canadian Mountie in the attempt. She immediately changes clothes packs her bags and heads into the wilderness territory with the Indian guide to rendezvous with her brother. About this time we are introduced to the Canadian Mounties doing maneuvers and singing songs and one of their best “trackers” who’s never failed to “get his man” before Sergeant Bruce (Nelson Eddy). Of course Marie and Sgt. Bruce are headed to the same place a lake lakeside community which serves as a “jumping off” point for travels into the wilderness. There are wanted posters offering $10000 for John Flowers (James Stewart) plastered everywhere.

The Indian guide makes off with Maria’s money so she tries singing for room & board at a local rowdy establishment where the men are more used to poor impressions of Mae West than a ruby throated opera singer such as herself. Though she fails at this she catches Sgt. Bruce’s eye; he has already learned of the robbery and offers to assist her. Since the Indian is her only link to her brother she is intentionally vague and uncooperative. When he reveals that he knows she is Rose Marie de Flor she tells him that Shea’s just trying to get away from the press and he believes her. It just so happens that tonight is the annual Indian gathering so he rows her across the lake to the festivities giving him a chance to “audition” his tenor skills and otherwise woe her with song. We are then treated to an elaborate Indian ceremony. Later she is able to find the Indian alone and threatens that she’ll turn him into the Mountie if he doesn’t take her to her brother. Secretly they agree to rendezvous later.

The next morning Marie and the Indian guide head off into the wilderness towards the cabin where her brother is hiding. About this time Sgt. Bruce figures out that de Flor is Spanish for flower and “puts two and two” together. He picks up their trail and follows at a distance until her guide leads them across the lake on horseback and he has to rescue her from drowning. It is then that their romance begins and they sing the famous “Indian Love Call” (featured in That’s Entertainment! (1974)). There is more to the story and 90 minutes into the film we finally see James Stewart in flesh and blood but I won’t reveal what happens when we do. You’ll just have to watch it for yourself;-)

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