IMDb > The Desert Song (1929)

The Desert Song (1929) More at IMDbPro »

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Release Date:
8 April 1929 (USA) See more »
Warner Brothers' spectacular SINGING success
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. | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Historical marvel See more (12 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Directed by
Roy Del Ruth 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Harvey Gates  screenplay
Oscar Hammerstein II  play
Otto A. Harbach  play
Frank Mandel  play
Laurence Schwab  play

Cinematography by
Barney McGill 
Film Editing by
Ralph Dawson 
Costume Design by
Earl Luick 
Sound Department
George Groves .... sound recording engineer (as George R. Groves)
Music Department
Ernest Grooney .... musical director
Sigmund Romberg .... music by

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
123 min
Black and White | Color (2-strip Technicolor) (one sequence)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Vitaphone)

Did You Know?

The original stage version of "The Desert Song" opened at the Casino Theatre on November 30, 1926 and ran for 471 performances.See more »


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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
Historical marvel, 13 January 2008
Author: Kevin Clarke ( from Germany

Okay, as a film this isn't the greatest achievement: it's static beyond belief. And I imagine back in 1929 it wasn't a huge success. But seen today, it allows us to witness a performance tradition that is lost. This "Desert Song" looks (and sounds) like a filmed stage performance of one of the most popular Broadway-operettas of the 1920s. All the melodramatic acting is there, the exaggerated comic stuff... and all the cross-gender jokes that would be politically incorrect today. (About Pierre being "like a sister" to Margot and Benny not being "a real man".) Put together, you can imagine how such a way of performing operetta worked on stage back then. And it's a shame no one does it like this any more - because the (homosexual) jokes (among others) are really funny. Also, you get to hear the entire score nearly intact, as played on Broadway. The singing isn't great throughout. But combined with the acting and good looks (especially of the Red Shadow) and combined with the phenomenal orchestra the music impresses. Hopefully someone will issue a soundtrack one day. And hopefully someone will release the film on commercial DVD, as a historic document of a great show done 'historically correct.' Compared with the later 'heroic' versions of "Desert Song" on film, this one is pure fun. And still touching at the same time. A mad romance in Marocco...

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