Tovarich (the Russian word for comrade) is a 1937 Warner Bros. comedy film based on the 1935 play by Robert E. Sherwood. It was produced and directed by Anatole Litvak with Robert Lord as associate producer and Hal B. Wallis and Jack L. Warner as executive producers. The screenplay was by Casey Robinson from the French play by Jacques Deval adapted into English by Robert E. Sherwood. The music score was by Max Steiner and the cinematography by Charles Lang.
The film stars Claudette Colbert and Charles Boyer with Basil Rathbone, Anita Louise, Melville Cooper, Isabel Jeans, Morris Carnovsky and Curt Bois in his American debut role.
Russian Prince Mikail Alexandrovitch Ouratieff (Charles Boyer) and his wife, Grand Duchess Tatiana Petrovna (Claudette Colbert) flee from the Russian Revolution
with the Czar
's fortune, which he has entrusted to them for safekeeping. They keep the money in a bank, faithfully refusing to spend any of it for themselves. Then, destitute, they are forced to take jobs under false identities as butler and maid in the household of wealthy Charles Dupont (Melville Cooper), his wife Fermonde (Isabel Jeans
), and their children, Helene (Anita Louise
) and Georges (Maurice Murphy). After a shaky start, the servants gradually endear themselves to their employers. However, their secret is finally exposed when one of the guests at a dinner party, Soviet Commissar
Gorotchenko (Basil Rathbone), recognises them.
Main cast and characters
Other cast members
- This is the first Warner Bros. film to begin with the famous Warners fanfare, which was composed by Max Steiner.
- The original play by Jacques Deval opened in Paris on 13 October 1933. Robert E. Sherwood's English adaptation opened in London on 24 April 1935, (Melville Cooper reprised his stage role for the movie) and on Broadway on Oct 15, 1936, starring Marta Abba.
- The play was made into a Broadway musical Tovarich (1963) (Book by David Shaw, music by Lee Pockriss and lyrics by (Anne Croswell) starring Vivien Leigh and Jean-Pierre Aumont. It ran for 264 performances and won Leigh the Tony Award for Best Actress.