|Genre: Classics, Musical & Performing Arts|
Directed By: Curtis Bernhardt
Written By: William Ludwig, Sonya Levien
In Theaters: 5 Sept. 1952
On Disc/Streaming: 26 May 1993
Runtime: 105 minutes
Box office: $4,500,000
Lana Turner as Crystal Radek
Fernando Lamas as Count Danilo
Una Merkel as Kitty Riley. Merkel played Queen Dolores in the 1934 film version.
Richard Haydn as Baron Popoff
Thomas Gomez as the King of Marshovia
John Abbott as the Marshovian ambassador
Marcel Dalio as the police sergeant
Lisa Ferraday as Marcella
“The Merry Widow” is a 1952 film adaptation of the operetta of the same name by Franz Lehár.
It starred Lana Turner (singing voice was dubbed by Trudy Erwin) and Fernando Lamas.
The film received two Academy Award nominations: for Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Color (Cedric Gibbons, Paul Groesse, Edwin B. Willis, Arthur Krams) and Best Costume Design, Color.
The young widow Crystal Radek (Lana Turner) is invited to Marshovia, a small European kingdom, to attend the unveiling of a statue in honour of her deceased husband.
The royal coffers are seriously in need of her money so the king sends out count Danilo to seduce her.
Lana Turner plays Crystal Radek.
The all-important role of Lehar’s heroine was carefully rewritten for its leading lady (including an Americanization of the character), with this fresh treatment discreetly relieving the widow of her musical requirements. But the role did call for a display of poise, assurance and great beauty and Miss Turner easily filled its demands. She was dressed to the hilt in a handsome array of gowns, hats, negligees and hourglass corsets of those turn-on-the-century times, even her shoes boated jewelled heels.
New York Times: “The Merry Widow” never had it so good. The most colorful and exquisite it has ever had … the brilliance in Techinicolor of the palaces, grand hotels and a replica of Maxim’s in Paris, that craftsmen at Metro have contrived, is something to take your breath away. And the richness of the costumes and the staging of dance and choral groups will deal the knockout blow. No Widow in our recollection, and we have seen quite a few, has been turned out as this one.”
The filming of this picture began only a few days after Lana tried to commit suicide. She sliced her wrists. That is why she wore long gloves or a very wide bracelet in “The Merry Widow”. Lana loved “The Merry Widow.” She liked Fernando Lamas and they got a relationship, there were incredible dance sequences and she loved the costumes by Helen Rose. The music was glorious and Lana used to play the record over and over again.
This is one of my favourite films with Lana Turner. I love the music, the story, the dresses. And Una Merkel is so funny! 😀
Here are some of the beautiful dresses by Helen Rose:
You can watch the film here.
Lana Turner did a lot of movies. She really loved being a moviestar.
Here are the most important films in which she starred. Just click the links for more info, photos and videos.
20 April 1937: A Star Is Born
9 Oct. 1937: They Won’t Forget
24 Oct. 1937: The Great Garrick
1 Jan. 1938: The Adventures of Marco Polo
22 July 1938: Love Finds Andy Hardy
12 Aug. 1938: Rich Man, Poor Girl
9 Dec. 1938: Dramatic School
28 April 1939: Calling Dr. Kildare
18 Aug. 1939: These Glamour Girls
29 Sept. 1939: Dancing Co-Ed
19 April 1940: Two Girls on Broadway
19 July 1940: We Who Are Young
25 April 1941: Ziegfeld Girl
12 Aug. 1941: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
2 Oct. 1941: Honky Tonk
18 Febr. 1942: Johnny Eager
27 Aug. 1942: Somewhere I’ll Find You
1 April 1943: Slightly Dangerous
19 Aug. 1943: Du Barry Was A Lady
13 Nov. 1943: The Youngest Profession
23 Aug. 1944: Marriage Is a Private Affair
8 March 1945: Keep Your Powder Dry
1 Oct. 1945: Week-End At The Waldorf
2 May 1946: The Postman Always Rings Twice
5 Nov. 1947 : Green Dolphin Street
1 Nov. 1947: Cass Timberlane
29 April 1948: Homecoming
20 Oct. 1948: The Three Musketeers
1 Sept. 1950: A Life Of Her Own
2 March 1951: Mr. Imperium
5 Sept. 1952: The Merry Widow
25 Dec. 1952: The Bad And The Beautiful
25 Aug. 1953: Latin Lovers
1 May 1954: Flame And The Flesh
7 Sept. 1954: Betrayed
13 May 1955: The Prodigal
4 June 1955: Sea Chase
14 Dec. 1955: The Rains Of Ranchipur
12 Jan. 1956: Diane
13 Dec. 1957: Peyton Place
30 Jan. 1958: The Lady Takes A Flyer
2 May 1958: Another Time, Another Place
30 April 1959: Imitation Of Life
23 June 1960: Portrait In Black
19 July 1961: By Love Possessed
2 Nov. 1961: Bachelor In Paradise
25 Dec. 1962: Who’s Got The Action?
24 Febr. 1965: Love Has Many Faces
27 April 1966: Madame X
30 April 1969: The Big Cube
7 Nov. 1974: Persecution
27 Oct. 1976: Bittersweet Love
31 Oct. 1980: Witches Brew
21 May 1982: Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid
Sources: Wikipedia, IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, Lana’s biography “Lana, the Lady, The Legend, The Truth“, “The Films Of Lana Turner” by Lou Valentino and “Lana Turner, The Memories, The Myths and The Movies” by Cheryl Crane.