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Zaza (Paramount 1938, Claudette Colbert, Herbert Marshall)



The almost incredible durability of this plot would seem to point to an enduring public appetite for the mildly prurient. It saw service as a successful play, an opera, and no less than three silent films, the last in 1923 with Gloria Swanson. Cukor directs the fourth outing for this story of an affair between Herbert Marshall’s married man and Claudette Colbert’s steamy French chanteuse, who leaves him to become the toast of Gay Paree. Comic Lahr’s performance is the high point.

After he finished Zaza, director George Cukor started working on Gone with the Wind, scouting locations, casting the film and shooting a few scenes–until he was fired by producer David O. Selznick.

production details
USA | Paramount | 83 minutes | 1938

Director: George Cukor
Producer: Albert Lewin
Original Story Pierre Breton, Charles Simon
Cinematography: Charles Lang Jr.
Editor: Edward Dmytryk
Music: Frederick Hollander, Frank Loesser
Script: Zoe Akins
Art Direction: Hans Dreier, Robert Usher

Dorothy Tree as Mme. Dufresne
Constance Collier as Nathalie
Walter Catlett as Marladot
Monty Woolley as Fouget
Frank Puglia as Rug Dealer
Claudette Colbert as Zaza
Herbert Marshall as Dufresne
Bert Lahr as Cascart
Helen Westley as Anais
Genevieve Tobin as Florianne
Ann Todd as Toto
Ernest Cossart as Marchand
Janet Waldo as Simone
Rex O’Malley as Bussy
Maurice Murphy as Henri