The Desert Song is a 1929 American Pre-Code operetta film directed by Roy Del Ruth and starring John Boles, Louise Fazenda, and Myrna Loy.



(screenplay), (play) | 3 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Carlotta King ...
Jack Pratt ...
Roberto E. Guzmán ...
Sid El Kar
Marie Wells ...
Del Elliott ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lester Cole
Peggy Dale


The Desert Song is a 1929 American Pre-Code operetta film directed by Roy Del Ruth and starring John Boles, Louise Fazenda, and Myrna Loy.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Warner Brothers' spectacular SINGING success







Release Date:

8 April 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Canção do Deserto  »

Box Office


$354,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



| (2-strip Technicolor) (one sequence)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


306 feet of 2-strip Technicolor footage, depicting the Red Shadow and his Arab horsemen riding across windswept sand dunes, opened the film in 1929, but now only survives in B&W. See more »


Version of The Red Shadow (1932) See more »

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User Reviews

Vere is Pierre?
28 September 2015 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Stiff early talkie in a bad print, but for students of both operetta and the transition to sound, it's invaluable. The 1926 stage success, with a stirring Romberg score set to lyrics by Hammerstein and Harbach, was filmed nearly intact, with choruses and reprises galore serving what now looks like the most ridiculous story an operetta ever served up. John Boles, overplaying the simp Pierre while under-emoting his secret alter ego, the Red Shadow, stands around and delivers the title song and "One Alone" a couple of times apiece, while his romantic counterpart, the stage soprano Carlotta King, sings well and manages some enthusiasm. This being as conventional as operetta gets, there's also a second comic couple, overacted by the extremely fey Johnny Arthur and Louise Fazenda, not having one of her better days. Myrna Loy, still playing "exotic" parts, is a hoot as Azuri, hootchie-kootching in dusky makeup and demanding, "Vere is Pierre?" A crowded chorus mostly stands around and sings, the staging's static, the orchestra's playing live somewhere offstage (under the circumstances, the recording's pretty impressive), some sequences are filmed silent and post-dubbed with music and sound effects, and the crude dramaturgy and far-fetched plotting cross over into camp by today's standards. But if you want to know what a 1926 stage operetta looked like, played like, and sounded like, this is as good a chance as you'll ever get.

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