Top critical review
When Less Means More
on December 6, 2001
"Maytime" is the only film of the MacDonald/Eddy series that is conservatively paced with a well-defined beginning, clarifying middle and unpredictable end. I especially appreciate director Leonard's camera honesty portraying Marcia (Jeanette) as an older woman in later life with gentle wrinkles masterfully applied.... No 25-year-old baby face wearing a white wig, Jeanette (Marcia) proudly displays aging with a natural grace. This is a woman magnificent at any age, her inner beauty shining throughout, primarily a credit to Jeanette. Flashbacks sweep us
back decades to Napolean's Paris and Marcia's young adulthood as
a student vocalist. Her voice teacher Nicolai, (John Barrymore)
is in desperate love with her and seeks her hand in marriage.
She accepts, seeing the marriage as a convenience with few obstacles. Shortly thereafter, however, Marcia meets the true love of her life, Paul (Nelson Eddy), a struggling voice student at Maytime festival. They quickly fall in love but true to
herself, Marcia's promise to marry Nicolai prevails. Paul and Marcia part painfully to the strings of "Will You Remember?" When their paths cross again years later, the challenge to
Nicolai - who has always known his young wife's love for Paul - is too strong to handle. In reliable Barrymore form, Nickolai silently takes the matter into his own hands with desperate results. "Maytime" is gentle, sweet..and sad. It is easily digested but lacks the energy we see in "Rose Marie", "Naughty Marietta" or "Sweethearts". Nonetheless, the simplicity of "Maytime" and its characters is a pleasant hiatus. When done
with understated quality, less can indeed be more.