Movie Mirrors Index

The Lottery Bride

(1930 b 67')

En: 5 Ed: 5

This Arthur Hammerstein operetta with music by Rudolf Friml uses a contrived plot to separate and bring back together young lovers Chris (John Garrick) and Jenny (Jeanette MacDonald).

The title refers to the marriage broker who finds brides for men in northern Norway, but orchestra leader Hoke (Joe E. Brown) refers to him as a "fight promoter." Chris has been to college, and Hoke quips, "You can always tell a college man, but you can't tell him much." Jenny's brother persuades her to enter a marathon dance contest with him, because he desperately needs money to pay back what he embezzled from the bank. When the police come for him, she lies to protect him; and just after Chris discovers her resting (after the dance marathon) in the arms of Alberto, she is arrested. Chris goes north to work in the mines with his brother Olaf, and she signs up to be a lottery bride. There the disconsolate Chris wins her number; but without looking at the photo, he gives it to Olaf. When she finds Olaf, they discover Alberto has come too; he is invited to stay with them, feeding the jealousy of Chris. Jenny has three men in love with her, giving plenty of emotional material for songs. Alberto heads to the north pole on a dirigible; and just after Jenny discovers that Chris really loves her, he runs out and joins the crew. In the climactic conclusion the dirigible is downed in a snow storm; but Chris and Alberto are found by Olaf who took a dog-sled. The three become lost in the ice but are rescued by the ice-breaker ship Jenny inspired with her courage, finally reuniting the lovers.

The over-active mind of college-man Chris jumps to the wrong conclusion, causing all the fuss, while Jenny simply is trying to be friendly with everyone. Dating movie audiences naturally expect their heroes and heroines to marry only for love, and so they identify with the struggle of Chris and Jenny and are happy when love finally conquers all no matter how artificial the contrivances. Using a lottery goes against the free choice involved in personal love.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

Movie Mirrors Index

BECK index