#65. Love Me Tonight (1932)

There’s a million reasons why this wouldn’t actually work but I had this passing fantasy in like the last two years of college that maybe someday I’d got to France or Italy, some place known for being romantic, and while I was there I’d get into some sort of gesture-based conversation with a woman who speaks virtually no English and that somehow, in a piecemeal way, we’d manage to communicate something of the truth about one another and then presumably, on the basis of this, go to bed together. Then there’s always a sort of jump cut and the fantasy goes from nighttime, with lots of very animated pantomiming amid wine bottles in my hotel room, to the next morning where we wake up tangled in the sheets, frumpish and hungover, questioning what we’ve done but also sort of trusting our instincts from the night before, and our attraction persists…

So on and so on. (Zizek: end sew on end sew on) Like maybe it culminates in marriage? The fantasy never goes that far. (Strange to find that sex never really factors into my romantic fantasies, and romance never factors into my sex fantasies).

            Anyway. Love Me Tonight feels Parisian as fuck. Or it feels like the stereotype of what it would mean to be Parisian as fuck.: the hero’s a lanky guy in fitted clothes with a tilted hat and a seductive lilt to everything he says. Maybe that’s because Maurice Chevalier (“that’s a French-ass name, Maurice”), the star of this flick, basically established that stereotype. And also Pepe Le Pew. Is Pepe based on Chevalier’s performance here? Probably. Will I look it up? No.

Love Me Tonight is a musical but not a spectacle. None of the massive Busby Berkley numbers here. It’s pretty chill. Five or six songs, no big dance routines. I like it a lot.

love me tonight 2.jpg
Really digging these posters.

I was definitely dreading musicals when I started the List but they’ve turned out to be a total delight. This one’s no exception. But there was one thing that really bothered me, toward the end, and it’s something that’s been bothering me a lot recently in just my daily life (I think since my parents’ divorce?). It’s the very earnest declaration of love. Especially when people emphasize the L. There’s a scene in Love Me Tonight where the hero and his love interest, Princess Jeanette (Jeanette MacDonald), are sitting on a bench in a garden and they say “I love you” at least eight times. No kidding. In the span of like one minute they say it more than I do in a month. Say it with the exaggerated L and this mesmerized head-tilted gaze into each other’s eyes. I hate that so much. Don’t know why. Wasn’t always the case.

Anyway. Movie’s pretty great. Really funny and sweet. I recommend it.

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