Ernst Lubitsch took his tongue out of his cheek when he directed this special [based on the 1924 operetta by Dorothy Donnelly and Sigmund Romberg from the novel by Wilhelm Meyer-Forster]. He had to, and in doing so he also took any kick right out of the picture, if any were there in the script for him. It’s not farce and it’s not drama. Just a pretty love story of peaches and cream.
The Student Prince concerns an heir to a throne who is forced to give up his love for a tavern maid because of duty to his country. And on the point of the Prince marrying the Princess his dead uncle had selected, the film ends.
The claim is that it took a year to make this feature, yet this doesn’t show. Productionally there are some rich interiors counterbalanced by a sprinkling of back drops on exteriors.
But nothing can stand off Ramon Novarro’s facial makeup. This is ghastly under certain lighting conditions and at no time allows him to completely spin the illusion of the character he is playing. Shearer’s personal efforts are a highlight and Jean Hersholt stands a good chance of outlasting both in the memory.