Nelson Eddy…at last a screenshot that captures his emotion during the operatic number, “Czaritza”, with co-star Jeanette MacDonald, from the 1937 film Maytime. Thank goodness for today’s high-definition which allows us to see what was generally only spotted in 35mm theater prints of this film – and only if you knew precisely when to look closely and catch the light reflecting on Nelson’s tears. (In 16 mm prints and on VHS tapes, the picture quality was always slightly muddied and details like this were harder to spot.)
Art mirrored life at this time; in the film sequence the two characters loved each other but were forced to part. Same as it was in life, for Jeanette was recently engaged to actor Gene Raymond and Nelson tried in vain to get her to call off that marriage, warning her that she would regret it the rest of her life.
Did she live to regret it? There is much evidence to substantiate that in a big way. Even the naysayers who want to believe all the hundreds of happily posed shots of Jeanette and Gene over the years – have to ask themselves why Jeanette suffered breakdowns in the late ’40s and early ’50s. These were admitted to both in the press and by Jeanette herself in her autobiography. If so happy with her life, why would this normally optimistic, focused woman emotionally flounder and crumble?
Thanks to Kitty Job for catching the screenshot and to Katie Gardner for forwarding it to me, with this comment:
The guy is crying. This of course is right before she reaches up and strokes his hair…..So you know, either Nelson was ONE HELL of an actor or……he wasn’t!