Love Me Tonight ★★★★½

What a splendid time. The persona embodied here by Maurice Chevalier isn't particularly appealing, and the romantic story in which he participates is so threadbare it almost comes off as a bunch of empty gesturing, and you can't help resenting that Myrna Loy is standing around given nothing to do. But the film's airy, blissful spirit and Mamoulian's head-spinning number of inventive moments with offbeat gags and monumentally witty sound design and ambitious staging make its plot as irrelevant as you always hope it will be in a musical... only here it's not even the music that rescues us, just the exuberance, sensuality and jaunty, winning humor of it all. Even knowing that the "Isn't It Romantic?" sequence -- which tracks, quite believably, how a song moves geographically -- was coming, I was still blown away by it. And just when it seems to slow down you get one last batshit stunner of a climax with the "Nothing But a Tailor" sequence. Hidden MVP here is Charles Butterworth, who gets all the sharpest lines and whose blasé exterior makes him more fun to watch than either of the leads.

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