The Big Pond
The Big Pond is a 1930 American Pre-Code romantic comedy film based on a 1928 play of the same name by George Middleton and A.E. Thomas. The film was written by Garrett Fort, Robert Presnell Sr. and Preston Sturges, who provided the dialogue in his first Hollywood assignment, and was directed by Hobart Henley. The film stars Maurice Chevalier and Claudette Colbert, and features George Barbier, Marion Ballou, and Andrée Corday, and was released by Paramount Pictures.
|The Big Pond|
|Directed by||Hobart Henley|
|Produced by||Monta Bell|
Robert Presnell Sr.
|Starring||Maurice Chevalier |
|Music by||Irving Kahal|
B. G. DeSylva
|Cinematography||George J. Folsey|
|Edited by||Emma Hill|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|May 3, 1930|
The Big Pond was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for Maurice Chevalier. It also provided Chevalier with his first American hits "You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me" by Irving Kahal, Pierre Norman and Sammy Fain and "Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight" by Al Sherman and Al Lewis.
During a vacation in Venice, Barbara Billings (Claudette Colbert), daughter of a prominent American chewing gum magnate, falls in love with Pierre Mirande (Maurice Chevalier), a French tour guide from a noble family that lost its fortune during World War I. Pierre loves Barbara in return and sings to her that "You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me". Although Barbara's mother (Marion Ballou) likes Pierre, her father (George Barbier) and her fiancé Ronnie (Frank Lyon) see him as a fortune-hunting foreigner. In order to get rid of him, Barbara's father decides to give him a job doing the hardest work at his factory across the "big pond" in New York City.
Despite doing tough work, Pierre genuinely enjoys his job, impressing his coworker (Nat Pendleton). He also captivates his landlady (Andrée Corday) and her young helper (Elaine Koch) with his Parisian charm and humor. Unfortunately, Pierre becomes exhausted from his work and falls asleep on the night that he is to attend Barbara's party. He is then fired when he is wrongly accused of spilling illicit rum on chewing gum samples. However, the incident inspires him to devise a new product for the company – rum-flavored chewing gum. The product is a success. He wins back his job and finds favor with Barbara's father, who promotes him.
Although Pierre hopes to use his new position to marry Barbara, he neglects his relationship with her in the process. While he plans to open a new branch of the company in Cleveland and to adopt "You Brought a New Kind of Love" as a new sales jingle, a frustrated Barbara declares that she will marry Ronnie instead. However, Pierre whisks her away in a speedboat and the two reconcile and embrace.
The Big Pond and its French language version La grande mare were shot simultaneously at the Paramount Astoria Studios in Astoria, Queens, New York City. Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert, Andrée Corday and Nat Pendelton played the same roles in both versions.
The French language version of The Big Pond, which was filmed simultaneously with the English version, was called La grande mare. The cast was:
- Maurice Chevalier as Pierre Mirande
- Claudette Colbert as Barbara Billings
- Henry Mortimer as Mr. Billings
- Maude Allen as Mrs. Billings
- Andrée Corday as Toinette
- William B. Williams as Ronnie
- Nat Pendleton as Pat O'Day
- Loraine Jaillet as Jennie
Writer Preston Sturges was fluent in French, but additional dialogue was provided by Jacques Bataille-Henri. The technical credits for the two versions are the same, except the editing for the French version was done by Barney Rogan. One critic noted that the French-speaking audience sounded as though they had picked up on risqué lines that must have been edited-out of the English-language version, due to the Production Code. Chevalier said that this lent extra charm to the French-language versions of his films.
- The Big Pond at the Internet Broadway Database
- Reid, Danny (14 May 2013). "The Big Pond". Pre-Code.com. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
- Sherman, Robert B.; Sherman, Richard M. (1998). Walt's Time. Santa Clarita: Camphor Tree Publishers. ISBN 0-9646059-3-7.
- TCM Full synopsis
- TCM Music
- La Grande Mare on IMDb
- IMDB Filming locations
- TCM Notes
- Ringgold, Gene; Bodeen, Dewitt (1973). Chevalier: The Films and Career of Maurice Chevalier. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press. p. 90. ISBN 0-8065-0354-8.