Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Rose-Marie (1936)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Rose-Marie (1936)

In W.S. Van Dyke's dramatic musical romance with lovely scenic backdrops - a black/white MGM musical that was the second screen version of the popular operetta, and the second screen partnering of Jeanette MacDonald with Nelson Eddy (in their best-known film of eight films, stretching from 1935 to 1942):

  • the popular yet temperamental and headstrong diva opera star and soprano singer Marie de Flor/aka Rose-Marie (Jeanette MacDonald) was touring through Canada; she was currently in Montreal, Canada, where she masterfully performed Gounod's opera Romeo et Juliette at the Royal Theatre; after the performance, she spoke to her maid Anna Roderick (Una O'Connor) about how she didn't need romance with suitor Teddy (David Nivens) whom she found smoking in her dressing room and was ready to propose; she claimed that she already had work, fame and money: ("What do I want with a good match. I have everything. I have my work, I have fame, I have money")
  • in an anonymous letter from her incarcerated brother John/Jack Flower (James Stewart in his second film role), she learned that his request for parole had been refused; he had been imprisoned for an armed bank robbery; while there in Canada, she planned to appeal for his release from one of her ardent fans - the visiting premier of Quebec, Canada (Alan Mowbray), at a post-performance engagement
  • at a private catered dinner party held in Marie's Wayland Hotel suite, before she had a chance to share her worries and appeal request to the Premier, to her shock, she learned in her bedroom from Indian half-breed Metis guide Boniface (George Regas in a stereotypical role), sent by her ne'er-do-well fugitive brother, that he had escaped from prison and killed a Canadian Mountie policeman during the prison breakout; John was now a wounded escape convict-fugitive who was being cared for by Boniface's mother in the Canadian wooded wilderness; he was in need of her financial help to get out of the country; she insisted on joining Boniface for the train journey to deliver the money personally
  • after making excuses to leave to her manager R.O. Myerson (Reginald Owen), she took all her savings, left the opera (for a month), and journeyed northward into the Canadian woods with Boniface in search of her brother in the vicinity of Lac Chibougam in central Quebec province
  • also on Flower's trail was handsome Royal Canadian Mountie Sgt. Bruce (Nelson Eddy) who was first seen leading a cavalry unit in the wilderness during the song "The Mounties"; he was assigned the case at his headquarters - to track Flower and pursue him high in the rugged mountainous woods
  • Marie was double-crossed - both robbed and deserted by her hired guide Boniface while buying clothing in a local store; in the street, she saw 'Wanted' posters of her brother offering a $100 reward for his capture, and imagined disturbing headlines of his execution

WANTED Poster For John Flower - Escaped Convict for Murder

Imagining Disturbing Newspaper Headlines in a Montage (FLOWER HANGS)
  • now penniless, that same evening, Rose-Marie was forced to try and get work singing in a bawdy and rowdy dance-hall saloon for tips - in order to survive; as she auditioned with her first song: "Dinah" - assisted by the saloon's piano player Joe (Jimmy Conlin), but her refined soprano voice was out of place and she was not appreciated by its uncouth and boisterous patrons
  • she received coaching for her second song: "Some of These Days" from one of the other more popular entertainers, a Mae West-like Bella (Gilda Gray) to make her act sufficiently more "hot", vulgarized and sexed-up, in order to succeed and receive tips, but still was regarded as too-dainty and refined; during her performance, the Sergeant entered the saloon, and she caught his eye

Auditioning in the Rowdy Bar - Singing "Dinah"

Sgt. Bruce in the Saloon Listening to Marie

Coaching by Bella
  • humiliated and embarrassed, she left the saloon, and Sgt. Bruce followed and approached her (pretending that he didn't know who she was); he knew about her stolen money from the storekeeper's report and had her monogrammed luggage in his office; when she said her name was Rose, he added her stage name: Rose-Marie de Flor, admitting that he knew her as the famed opera star from her voice; she didn't want the Mountie to know her connection and search for her fugitive brother; he suggested helping her find her guide and recover her money
  • on their way to an Indian camp (where Boniface would most likely be located), Sgt. Bruce sang the title song "Rose-Marie" (composed by Oscar Hammerstein II, Otto A. Harbach and Rudolf Frimi) to woo her during a moonlit canoe paddling on the lake; after the serenade (he was falling in love with her), she complimented him: "You have a lovely voice," and he admitted: "Every word came right from my heart", but then together, they joked about how he could change the female's name in the song from Caroline to Genevieve or Annabelle
  • at the Indian camp during the annual corn festival-ceremony, they observed the "Totem Tom Tom" dance sequence from a tree perch; afterwards, Marie found Boniface and threatened him with jail time if he didn't return her money and resume his guide-job for her; that evening from outside her hotel room in the village, Sgt. Bruce serenaded Marie a second time with a reprise of the refrain of "Rose-Marie" and "Just For You"
  • Sgt. Bruce's sudden realization was that Marie's last name (de Flor) was translated as 'Flower' - meaning that she was related to the escaped convict; however, she had already fled when he tried to find her; he trailed after her (he assumed that she would probably lead him to her brother); during her trek to Hayman's Landing and then to the cabin where her brother was being treated by Boniface's mother, she stopped and marveled at her voice echoing through the valley as she sang: "Three Blind Mice"
  • the sequence of crossing the deep lake on horseback, when she was floundering and almost drowning and Sgt. Bruce had to rescue her; at the same time, the untrustworthy Boniface, fearful of the pursuing Mountie, once again abandoned Marie
  • at first, she haughtily refused the Sergeant's assistance, but by nightfall (cold, wet and lost), she ventured up to his nearby hillside camp to spend the night together; in the film's central love scene, after they listened to Indian love calls in the distance, he explained the legend, and then sang "Indian Love Call" to her as a solo; as she prepared to sleep inside his tent by herself, she hummed the "Indian Love Call" tune to herself, and he quietly hummed the same tune in response to her to communicate by song - it was their own 'love call'
"Indian Love Call" - Sgt. Bruce's Solo to Rose-Marie
The Song's Reprise Together as a Duet
  • on what they thought would be their last full day together, there was a sequence of a serious discussion during sunset before they set up camp; Sgt. Bruce spoke about his life of duty and his sworn oath to uphold the law - even in a world of nature; Rose-Marie argued that it was cruel to hunt someone down and asked: "But it, would it make any great difference to you, in your job I mean, if you didn't get your man?"; she suggested that he become a singer and quit his Mountie job
  • after their talk, they shared a glorious duet together - a reprise of the "Indian Love Call" (the film's most memorable, beautiful signature number), and ended the song with kisses - and professions of love
  • they continued onward a while longer until they reached Hayman's Landing, where he predicted that it might be goodbye forever between them - "It's this place, the woods, and being alone together. It makes you lose your sense of values...When you get back to the city, you'll know I'm right. You'll see all this in a different way. You'll remember me for just what I am, a policeman. Well, goodbye"
  • she was guided to the location of her brother in Boniface's cabin, where her brother was surprised by her arrival; she begged for him to reform himself but he seemed uninterested; when the Sgt. appeared at the door to hand-cuff him, duty demanded that the Canadian Mountie arrest John and take the fugitive into custody to seek justice; he admitted he knew her identity all along; she piteously begged for the Mountie to not arrest her brother - and began singing their "Love Call" song as they rode away, but Sgt. Bruce was unmoved and steadfast even though he turned back a few times

The Apprehension of John Flower
Rose-Marie With Her Brother John/Jack
  • afterwards, Marie was emotionally distraught, anguished and fragile, but returned to the world of the opera and her singing; she suffered a nervous breakdown and collapsed on stage while performing in the last act of Giacomo Puccini's opera La Tosca; while convalescing six months later in a remote snowy mountain cabin, her manager Myerson visited and told her of his disappointment about her early retirement - she had lost all interest and motivation for any further opera tours: ("I don't seem to care if I never sing again")
  • she sadly began to sing the "Indian Love Call" song to herself after he left; Sgt. Bruce (who had been sent for) listened from outside and entered from the foyer, to reunite with her in body and song during the refrain; Marie regained her will to live and love as they finished the song together and kissed

In a Trance Before Collapsing On Stage During La Tosca

Recuperating: with Her Manager Myerson
Reunited Once Again: Singing Together

Marie de Flor (Jeanette MacDonald) - Romeo and Juliet Opera

Marie: "I have my work, I have fame, I have money"

News From Boniface About Her Escaped Convict, Wounded Fugitive Brother

"The Mounties" - RCMP on Horseback - Led by Sgt. Bruce (Nelson Eddy)

Marie's Arrival with Boniface in Northern Quebec Province

Marie Interviewed by Sgt. Bruce at the Mountie Station

"Rose-Marie" During Moonlight Canoe Paddling

The "Tom Tom" Dance-Festival

Watching the Totem Ceremony Together From a Tree Perch

"Three Blind Mice" - Echoing in the Valley

Rose-Marie Rescued From Drowning in Lake

Their First Kiss (After Singing "Indian Love Call" Together)

More Hugs

A Simple Parting and Goodbye at Hayman's Landing

Rose-Marie Singing the "Love Call" Song as Her Brother Was Taken Away


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