The Smiling Lieutenant

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The Smiling Lieutenant is a 1931 American film produced by Paramount Pictures. Made in the Pre-Code era, it was written by Samson Raphaelson and Ernest Vajda, from the operetta Ein Walzertraum by Oscar Straus (libretto by Leopold Jacobson and Felix Dörmann), which in turn was based on the novel Nur der Prinzgemahl (Only the Prince Consort) by Hans Müller-Einigen. The film was directed by Ernst Lubitsch and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

This was the first of three films directed by Lubitsch and starring Miriam Hopkins. The other two were Trouble in Paradise and Design for Living.


The movie stars Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert, Miriam Hopkins, Charles Ruggles and George Barbier. It is a romantic comedy concerning the love of a Princess for a soldier, and the love of the soldier for another woman. The Lieutenant (Chevalier) while standing in formation before a parade honoring the visiting royal family of Flausenthurm takes an opportunity to smile at his girlfriend in the crowd.

Unfortunately the smile is intercepted by the Princess of Flausenthurm, and an international incident is narrowly avoided by having them marry. The Lieutenant sneaks away from his bride to wander the streets of Flausenthurm and discovers his girlfriend Franzi (Colbert). The princess receives notice of this and decides to confront Franzi. After the initial confrontation, Franzi sees that the princess is in fact deeply in love with the lieutenant, and decides to save the marriage by giving the princess a makeover ("Jazz up your lingerie!") The results are a complete success as the Lieutenant follows his satin-clad, cigarette-puffing bride into the bedroom and closes the door — only to open it and give the audience a last song and a suggestive wink.

Cast (in credits order)

External links

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