From the Eclipse Shelf: The Smiling Lieutenant

On Film / Short Takes — Jan 20, 2012

Quel scandale! In The Smiling Lieutenant’s “Jazz Up Your Lingerie,” one of the most delightful numbers from all the titles in the Eclipse series Lubitsch Musicals, Claudette Colbert’s free-and-easy flapper Franzi gives Miriam Hopkins’s prim Princess Anna (royalty from a country called Flausenthurm . . . naturally) instructions on how to loosen up and attract Maurice Chevalier’s eligible military bachelor. And no, they doesn’t involve shiatsu massage. Check out the entire song in the clip below, which affords a glimpse of two of the great comediennes of the thirties vamping at a piano—something you don’t see every day. (Interesting side note: Both Colbert and Hopkins preferred that the camera focus on the right side of their face in the film. As you can see, Lubitsch granted the favor only to Hopkins, his favorite.)