Great Marietta

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German title Great Marietta
Original title Naughty Marietta
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1935
length 105 minutes
Director WS Van Dyke
script John Lee Mahin ,
Frances Goodrich ,
Albert Hackett based on the operetta of the same name by Victor Herbert
production Hunt Stromberg ,
WS Van Dyke for MGM
music Herbert Stothart adaptation
camera William H. Daniels
cut Blanche Sewell

Tolle Marietta (OT: Naughty Marietta ) is the film adaptation of the operetta of the same name by Rida Johnson Young and Victor Herbert and directed by WS Van Dyke . The film established the two main actors Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy as a screen couple who made seven other films, preferably operettas, together until 1942.


France in the 18th century. Princess Marie de Namours de la Bonfain, an orphan who lives with her uncle Prince de la Bonfain, refuses the wedding planned by King Louis XV to the Spanish nobleman Don Carlos de Braganza. When she hears that her friend Marietta Franini will move to Louisiana, she decides to flee France. Marietta is too poor to be able to continue living in Paris. She wants to go to the French colony to marry her friend Giovanni there. Marie offers Marietta money to take her place on board the ship and escape undetected. Marietta accepts the money and Marie can embark as Marietta. Shortly afterwards it is announced that Marie is considered a refugee. 550 gold pieces are exposed for information about their whereabouts.

On the ship, Marie finds herself among many women who were sent to Louisiana by royal contract to marry unmarried settlers there. She tells Julie, one of the women, that she won't do that. In a pirate attack, the ship gets out of control and is stranded on the coast of the colony. The women can disembark, but soon a fierce battle breaks out between the pirates and arriving Yankee soldiers. The pirates are defeated, the commander of the soldiers, Richard Warrington, falls in love with Marie. The women are brought to New Orleans. The governor and many settlers willing to marry greet them happily. Marie tries to avoid marrying a settler by lying, saying that she is an immoral woman. As a result, she now has to work in a puppet show. Warrington will find her there. He learns about the fugitive princess and realizes that Marie is the person. He plans to hide it.

Marie, however, is recognized and imprisoned. Julie visits her and brings her the news that Richard has been banished. In addition, her uncle is on his way to take her to Don Carlos. Marie's uncle arrives and advises her to reconcile with Don Carlos. She should tell him that her escape happened on a whim. Meanwhile Julie goes to Richard. She explains to him that the governor will punish him if Marie does not obey the king's orders.

Shortly before leaving, Marie and her uncle attend a farewell ball organized by the governor. Richard appears there unexpectedly and brings Marie to flee with him into the wilderness in order to start an undisturbed new life with him.


Jeanette MacDonald was signed personally for MGM by Louis B. Mayer in 1933 . The actress had become a popular actress at Paramount Pictures since 1929 , sometimes frivolous comedies and had played several times under the direction of Ernst Lubitsch at the side of Maurice Chevalier . MGM, however, encouraged her singing talent and so MacDonald turned the musical The Cat and the Fiddle as the first film under her new contract .

MGM had the idea since July 1933 to bring MacDonald to the screen together with the baritone Nelson Eddy . A musical version of Der Gefangene von Zenda was planned as the first project and, when the plans failed, the operetta I Married an Angel . At the end of 1934, the parties finally agreed on the film adaptation of the well-known operetta Naughty Marietta by Victor Herbert , which had become a classic on the American stage since its premiere in 1910. Especially the songs Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life and Italian Love Song became very popular.

The genre of the film operetta was already popular in the silent film era and experienced its first high point at the beginning of the sound film era . But an oversupply of Singspiele led to a rapid waning of public interest. It was not until 1934 that both Ernst Lubitsch with his film adaptation of The Merry Widow and The Shining Target with Grace Moore proved again that the audience also accepted classical music in the film.

MGM had first plans to film Naughty Marietta with Marion Davies in the lead role as early as 1930, but the project did not get beyond a few drafts of the script. The second attempt was not without problems either. Lous B. Mayer initially wanted the singer Allan Jones to be MacDonald's partner, but he was already involved in the Marx Brothers ' comeback film , Scandal in the Opera . In the end, the choice fell on Nelson Eddy, who had made his screen debut a few months earlier in the Joan Crawford film I Dance Just For You . The originally planned director Robert Z. Leonard gave up responsibility immediately after shooting began, and the contract went to WS Van Dyke . The script had to be rewritten several times. Many of the original songs were either completely removed or given different lyrics. However, the most famous songs of the piece have been retained: Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life , I'm Falling in Love with Someone , Italian Street Song as well as Tramp Tramp Tramp and Neath the Southern Moon

Theatrical release

With production costs of 782,000 US dollars, Tolle Marietta was in the upper range for an MGM film, even if the later films of the two stars were to cost over 2,000,000 US dollars in some cases. In the US, the film grossed $ 1,058,000, a good, if not a peak, value. With overseas revenues of $ 999,000 and a cumulative total of $ 2,057,000, Tolle Marietta was one of the more successful productions of the year for MGM with a profit of $ 446,000. The film became a huge financial success, turning Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy into a screen couple who were to make seven more films together.


The film received consistently good reviews. Ed Sullivan described him in the New York Daily News as “fantastic. MacDonald-Eddy are the sensational couple in the film industry. ”Richard Watts jr. of the New York Herald-Tribune blamed Nelson Eddy's "brilliant baritone" for the film's success. According to Andre Sennwald of the New York Times , WS Van Dyke created a "happy, romantic and melodic film that inspires its composers".

Only Time Magazine couldn't get anything out of the film. The film is "ridiculous garbage that fits well for the needs of romantic cinema."


Academy Awards 1936

Further awards

  • 1935: Medal of Honor of the Photoplay Awards for Hunt Stromberg
  • 2003: Admission to the National Film Registry of the National Film Preservation Board

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Naughty Marietta. In: Archived from the original on February 7, 2012 ; accessed on November 7, 2018 (English).
  2. ^ Andre Sennwald : Naughty Marietta . In: The New York Times , March 23, 1935.
  3. ^ The New Pictures: Apr. 1, 1935 . In: Time , April 1, 1935.