Maytime has so many fine qualities that its length, occasional lapses into the superfluous and betimes dull interludes will be acceptable.
The vocal piece-de-resistance, of course, is the Sigmund Romberg waltz ballad, ‘Will You Remember?’ perhaps better known as ‘Sweetheart, Sweetheart’. This has been artfully backgrounded throughout the extended running time by Herbert Stothart.
The stars, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, are splendid in their vocal assignments. it’s chiefly MacDonald’s picture. She looks her best in the Napoleonic period costumes, and is charming in her make-up as the venerable old lady, with a slightly mysterious past, who finally opens up as she counsels the petulant Lynne Carver and Tom Brown on the wisdom of forsaking a career in favor of romance. Eddy carries through the worthy impression made by this pair in their past operetta successes. His robust baritone again nicely balances MacDonald’s soprano.
Histrionically there is also John Barrymore in a fat supporting assignment as a somewhat dour mentor of the ambitious prima donna.
The ‘Huguenots’ operatic sequence (Meyerbeer, scored by Stothart) is one of the major vocal highlights. ‘Czaritza’ is the original Stothart adaptation from Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony into a new Russian opera, libretto by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest. This is the major operatic interlude and MacDonald, Eddy and the Don Cossacks make the most of it, singing the French lyrics by Gilles Guilbert.
The light brown sepia tinging, which Metro used in Good Earth (1936), is utilized in certain sequences, notably in the St Cloud carnival scene and the ‘Maytime’ – ‘Will You Remember?’ waltz finale.
1937: Nominations: Best Score, Sound