Ernst Lubitsch directs the 1934 musical comedy The Merry Widow, based on the 1905 operetta by Franz Lehar. In 1885, King Achmed (George Barbier) strives to protect the financial interests of his small, poor kingdom of Marshovia in Central Europe.
When the kingdom's wealthiest widow, Sonia (Jeanette MacDonald), goes off to Paris, the king sends the village's greatest lover, Prince Danilo (Maurice Chevalier), off to marry her. The king demands that Danilo must romance and marry Sonia so she will return to the small kingdom with her riches. If he doesn't succeed, he'll be arrested.
While in Paris, Danilo is distracted from his royal task when he finds himself in the company of many lovely Parisian women. Unbeknownst to him, one of the ladies is really Sonia pretending to be an escort girl. After a dance number and some songs, the Ambassador (Edward Everett Horton) announces that they are to be married.
When Sonia refuses to marry Danilo, he is arrested and sent back to the small kingdom. Eventually Sonia returns to Marshovia, where she visits him in jail. She testifies on his behalf and they are finally married.
The Merry Widow was filmed several other times, including the 1925 silent version directed by Erich Von Stroheim and the1952 version starring Fernando Lamas as Danilo.