This has got to be the most charming little film of the 1930’s I’ve encountered yet.
In One Hour With You we meet a young, happily married couple: Andre (Maurice Chevalier) and Colette (Jeanette MacDonald). It’s summarized (partially in song) how happy they are and how great marriage is. The next day, Colette’s old friend Mitzi (Genevieve Tobin) is coming to visit. Mitzi is one of those flirtatious girls who won’t let up once they spot a target, and she’s all over Andre in no time. Andre tries his hardest to resist, but by the end of the night after he and Colette host a lavish party, he is in Mitzi’s arms. He isn’t proud of it, and even asks the audience, “What would you do?” When he hears that Mitzi’s husband is planning to divorce her over the incident he knows he has to come clean to his wife. But she’s been having to handle the advances of another man herself.
This film is just an easy-going musical comedy, and I don’t mean that in a condescending way. There’s something about the old-timey music and the screwy romance plot that makes you smile, relax and not take things so seriously.
Many times, a rhyming dialogue eases into a song. That may sound strange, but it works as such a natural transition. I’ve complained before about the sudden song breaks in 1930’s film, but this was a joy. I honestly wish most musicals would use the subtle transition; it’s more quirky than odd, just like many other parts of the film.
There are also many scenes where Andre talks directly to the audience. He becomes a narrator and brings his insight to whatever just happened in the scene with so much personality. The first time he broke that fourth wall, I knew this would be a very relaxed and fun film. And Maurice Chevalier’s heavy French accent just added to my smiles.
The plot is trite and there’s a good amount of singing, but everything made with just enough silliness that we can enjoy it. If you’re weary about trying out a 1930’s musical, I would strongly suggest testing the water with One Hour With You.
“I am married and I like it. Sorry to disappoint you.”