Big Pond, The (1930): Oscar-Nominated Romantic Comedy, Written by Preston Sturges, Starring Chevalier and Claudette Colbert

Maurice Chevalier and Claudette Colbert play Pierre Mirande and Barbara Billings in The Big Pond, for which Chevalier received a Best Actor Oscar nomination.

This light, charming romantic comedy with music was directed by Hobart Henley and scripted by the young and brilliant Preston Sturges (long before he became a major Hollywood filmmaker, in the 1940s).

A Venetian tour guide, Pierre falls in love with wealthy American tourist Barbara, but her relatives think that Pierre is a fortune-hunter, only interested in her money.

Things change, when Barbara’s mother persuades her husband to give Pierre a job in his chewing-gum factory. The menfolk approve of Barbara’s choice when Pierre comes up with the brilliant idea of coating the gum with liquor.

Like “The Blue Angel,” which was made in the same year, “The Big Pond” was filmed simultaneously in two languages, in English and French (the Gallic title is “Le Grand Mere”).

Chevalier sings the popular tune, “You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me.”

Chevalier, who was nominated in the same year for another (better) film, “The Love Parade,” never won a legit, competitive Oscar (see below).

However, Claudette Colbert did, in 1934, for the comedy “It Happened One Night.”

Oscar Nominations: 1

Actor: Maurice Chevalier

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

In 1930, Chevalier lost the Best Actor Oscar to British George Arliss for “Disraeli.”  Chevalier won an honorary Oscar in 1958, on the occasion of his appearance in Minnelli’s musical “Gigi.”



Directed By: Hobart Henley.

Released: May 3, 1930


Andre Corday as Toinette

Claudette Colbert as Barbara Billings

George Barbier as Mr. Billings

Maurice Chevalier as Pierre Mirande

Maude Allen as Mrs. Billings

Marion Balou as Mrs. Billings