Even without the benefit of sound, The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg seems to be inundated by Franz Lehar's unforgettable songs. Director Ernst Lubitsch fashioned a gloriously schmaltzy, delightfully artificial rendition of the 1924 Lehar opera, which in turn was based on the 1902 play In Old Heidelberg. Ramon Novarro plays the title role, an ever-carousing young monarch who falls in love with ebullient barmaid Norma Shearer. Fully willing to forsake his crown for her sake, Novarro chooses duty over love when his country is threatened with revolution. He tries to let Shearer down gently, but it is clear that she will never quite get over her summer romance. Such is the genius of Ernst Lubitsch that the 1927 version of Student Prince seems a lot more alive and far less dated than the 1954 Technicolor remake.
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