TFTMM’s Screen Team Edition Presents “Screen Team Of The Month (January 2022)” Featuring Jeanette MacDonald And Nelson Eddy

Hey everybody, I’m here to wish you all a Happy New Year! And with the new year, I am resuming my celebrations of various stars and genres for every month. As I announced previously, I will be starting off 2022 with the “Singing Sweethearts” Screen Team of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy for the month of January!

Table Of Contents

Quick Film Career Bio

Jeanette MacDonald

Birth: June 18, 1903

Death: January 14, 1965

Jeannette Anna McDonald was born in Philadelphia to Daniel McDonald and Anna May in 1903. As a child, she took dancing lessons, but took up singing lessons when she joined her older sister Blossom Rock in New York in 1919. She got roles in the chorus and as second female leads in various shows until 1927, when she landed the lead in Yes, Yes, Yvette. She appeared in several more plays, including Angela, where she was spotted by film star Richard Dix. He got her screen-tested for a movie, but the play’s producers wouldn’t let her out of her contract at the time. Director Ernst Lubitsch saw that screen test later, and cast her in his first sound film, The Love Parade (1929), her first of four pairings with Maurice Chevalier. She signed with Paramount Studios, where she made several more movies (including at least one more for Lubitsch). She tried to produce a film on her own (The Lottery Bride in 1930), but it wasn’t successful. She signed with Fox Film Corporation for three movies, before taking a break from Hollywood for a European concert tour. She came back to Paramount for two more movies with Maurice Chevalier (One Hour With You and Love Me Tonight, both from 1932) before going back to Europe.

While there, she signed with MGM, where she made two films in 1934, The Cat And The Fiddle (which wasn’t much of a success) and The Merry Widow (which was a hit with critics and some audiences, but not enough to make a profit). Then she was paired with newcomer Nelson Eddy for Naughty Marietta (1935), which was much more popular with movie audiences. The following year (1936), they were teamed up again for Rose-Marie while she simultaneously proved her acting chops with a more dramatic role in San Francisco opposite Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy. Wunderkind producer Irving Thalberg made plans to have Jeanette and Nelson do a film version of the Sigmund Romberg operetta Maytime in Technicolor, but his death altered those plans. Instead, a slightly different cast was assembled for the now black-and-white film, and Maytime (1937) became a big hit with audiences. Jeanette and Nelson made two more films in 1938, The Girl Of The Golden West and MGM’s first Technicolor film, Sweethearts. She also had several solo films, including The Firefly (1937) and Broadway Serenade (1939), but neither were as successful as the films with Nelson. After Broadway Serenade, Jeanette left Hollywood for a concert tour. After some negotiations, she came back for three more films with Nelson, Smilin’ Through (1941) with her husband Gene Raymond and Cairo (1942).

With Nelson Eddy buying out his contract after a falling out with MGM head Louis B. Mayer, Jeanette also left the studio after Cairo (along with several other highly paid actresses let go by Mayer). She followed Nelson to Universal, but she only ended up filming two songs for the all-star movie Follow The Boys (1944). That was the last screen appearance she made for several years. She came back to MGM for two final films, Three Daring Daughters (1948) and the Lassie film The Sun Comes Up (1949). In the 1950s, she appeared in various stage productions (though none on Broadway, to the best of my knowledge) and various TV programs. She wanted to make a comeback on the big screen, but most of the attempts (including several with Nelson Eddy) didn’t manage to get off the ground, particularly not helped by a heart condition that had been increasingly plaguing her. In the 1960s, her health went downhill considerably, despite the attempts by doctors to operate on her. Finally, she passed away due to heart failure at the Houston Methodist Hospital on January 14, 1965.

Nelson Eddy

Birth: June 29, 1901

Death: March 6, 1967

In 1901, Nelson Ackerman Eddy was born to Caroline Isabel and William Darius Eddy in Providence, Rhode Island. His family was quite musical, as his mother was a church soloist, his grandmother was an oratorio singer and his father (who deserted his family when Nelson was fourteen) sang in the church choir, played drums, and worked both on- and off-stage. The family had to move around a lot because his father was unable to keep a steady job due partly to his alcoholism, but, after his father left, Nelson had to abandon school and get work (first at an iron works and then later as a newspaper reporter). Singing was still his love, and he started working at the Philadelphia Civic Opera Company in the 1920s. In 1927, Nelson followed his singing teacher to Dresden in Europe to study. When he was offered a job with a German opera company, he turned it down and returned to America, deciding instead to focus on doing concerts (with a handful of opera roles in between).

When he substituted last minute for diva Lotte Lehman at a sold-out concert in L.A. on February 28, 1933, the audience took to him quite well, and he received many offers to go to Hollywood. Figuring that being in the movies would help his concert career, he signed with MGM. At first, they didn’t quite know what to do with him, relegating him to quick appearances with one song each in Broadway To Hollywood (1933), Dancing Lady (1933) and Student Tour (1934). Movie audiences liked him well enough that he was promoted to the male lead opposite Jeanette MacDonald in Naughty Marietta (1935), and a new star (and screen team) was born. While starring alongside Jeanette in seven more films, he also made films opposite other leading ladies at MGM, including Eleanor Powell (Rosalie from 1937), Virginia Bruce (Let Freedom Ring from 1939), Ilona Massey (Balalaika from 1939) and Risë Stevens (The Chocolate Soldier from 1941). Around the time of what turned out to be his final film with Jeanette (I Married An Angel from 1942), Nelson had a falling out with MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer, and bought out his contract. He then signed with Universal Studios for a two-picture deal. His first film there, Phantom Of The Opera (1943), didn’t quite turn out as he had hoped, and he ended things with Universal. He made a few more movies after that, mostly for independent studios, with his final film being Northwest Outpost (1947) for Republic Pictures.

By this time, he was mainly focusing on doing radio shows and making a few television appearances. He had also continued doing concerts, but the rise of television made those less profitable for him. Instead, he adapted by putting together a nightclub act. He still hoped to make some more movies, especially with Jeanette (and even tried to write a few screenplays himself towards that end), but nothing ever came of it, with their only appearances together at that point being on television on various programs. While he was performing at the Sans Souci Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida (in 1967), he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage onstage and later passed away (having been preceded in death by Jeanette nearly two years earlier).

Jeanette MacDonald Filmography

This is a list of all the films that I personally have reviewed from her filmography so far. Obviously, I will be adding to it throughout the month of January, and it is my plan to add to it as I review more and more of her films even beyond this month’s celebration.

Monte Carlo (1930)

Love Me Tonight (1932)

The Cat And The Fiddle (1934)

Naughty Marietta (1935)

Rose-Marie (1936)

San Francisco (1936)

Maytime (1937)

The Girl Of The Golden West (1938)

Nelson Eddy Filmography

This is a list of all the films that I personally have reviewed from his filmography so far. Obviously, I will be adding to it throughout the month of January, and it is my plan to add to it as I review more and more of his films even beyond this month’s celebration.

Dancing Lady (1933)

Naughty Marietta (1935)

Rose-Marie (1936)

Maytime (1937)

The Girl Of The Golden West (1938)

Balalaika (1939)

The Chocolate Soldier (1941)

Phantom Of The Opera (1943)

Make Mine Music (1946)

Entries For This Month

Thoughts From The Music(al) Man –

Monte Carlo (1930)

Make Mine Music (1946)

The Chocolate Soldier (1941)

The Girl Of The Golden West (1938)

The Cat And The Fiddle (1934)

Phantom Of The Opera (1943)

Rules:

Since this blogathon lasts a month, I’ll keep the rules here in case anybody is still interested in joining in:

  1. At this point, I am not putting any restrictions on topics related to the various stars, so you can choose to do one of their films (whether it’s one of their solo movies or one made as a team), or biographies, lists of favorites, etc.
  2. These celebrations are intended as tributes to these stars, so I would ask that any participating posts be respectful of the stars themselves. Obviously, if you don’t care for that specific star, that would probably not be a good month to join in.
  3. I’m requesting that all posts would be new material, and not any previously published ones.
  4. As previously indicated, these celebrations of the stars and genres will last a whole month each, so you will have that whole month to work with. I myself will be publishing about four or five posts per month (depending on the number of Sundays and whether there are any recent disc releases that would fit the bill), so you can decide how many you want to do (within reason).
  5. If you are interested in joining, I would certainly suggest you either comment on this post, email me at astairefan7@gmail.com, or, for the Facebook savvy, contact me at my FB page. And feel free to use the banners I have put together (due to this blogathon focusing on a team instead of one star, I will actually have several to choose from, as opposed to my usual one).
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