The Merry Widow (1934 film)

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The Merry Widow
The Merry Widow (1934) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byErnst Lubitsch
Written byLibretto:
Victor Léon
Leo Stein
Ernest Vajda
Samson Raphaelson
Marcel Achard
(French version)
Produced byIrving Thalberg
Ernst Lubitsch
StarringMaurice Chevalier
Jeanette MacDonald
CinematographyOliver T. Marsh
Edited byFrances Marsh (English)
Adrienne Fazan (French)
Music byFranz Lehár
Distributed byLoew's Inc.
Release date
  • October 11, 1934 (1934-10-11)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States
(separate versions)
Box office$2.8 million (worldwide rentals)[1]

The Merry Widow is a 1934 film adaptation of the 1905 operetta of the same name by Franz Lehár. The picture was directed and produced by Ernst Lubitsch starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald with a supporting cast featuring Edward Everett Horton, Una Merkel, Sterling Holloway, Donald Meek, Jason Robards Sr. and Akim Tamiroff. A French-language version was produced at the same time and released in France the same year as La Veuve joyeuse with some but not all of the same cast (Chevalier, MacDonald, and Tamiroff appear in both versions). Lorenz Hart and Gus Kahn wrote new English lyrics for some Lehar songs under the musical direction of Herbert Stothart.


Playboy Captain Danilo (Maurice Chevalier) is ordered by King Achmet of Marshovia (George Barbier) to court and marry Madame Sonia (Jeanette MacDonald), a rich widow who owns a large portion of the kingdom.[2]




Awards and honors[edit]

Cedric Gibbons and Fredric Hope won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction.[3]

A publicity still of Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier in The Merry Widow

The film was nominated for the American Film Institute's 2006 list AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals.[4]


The film earned $861,000 in the US and $1,747,000 overseas for a total rental of $2,608,000.[1] It earned a further $151,000 on re-release in 1949–1950 to almost break even.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ Green, Stanley (1999) Hollywood Musicals Year by Year (2nd ed.), pub. Hal Leonard Corporation ISBN 0-634-00765-3 page 34
  3. ^ "The Merry Widow". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-10-17. Retrieved 2008-12-07.
  4. ^ "AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-13.

External links[edit]