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There is a popular rumor that the reason John Gilbert's voice sounded high and reedy was that M.G.M. studio head L.B. Mayer bore a grudge against Gilbert and told technicians to speed up the soundtrack to discredit the increasingly drunken and troublesome star. This myth spread because the movie was so rarely screened after its initial release. However, the film itself shows that Gilbert's voice was completely normal and it was not tampered with, rather, the star was hindered by stilted dialogue and direction.
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It was in this film that silent screen legend John Gilbert made his talking-picture debut. His voice was said, erroneously, to have sounded high-pitched and frankly odd in a film that called for him to play a romantic swashbuckler. In fact, Gilbert's voice was not high-pitched, rather, his performance was marred by bad dialogue and nervous delivery. Audiences reportedly laughed at him at the most inappropriate moments.
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The filming of the movie and its disastrous reception were one of the main inspirations for the film Singin' in the Rain (1952).
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This film has been restored and preserved for historical purposes, and is presently owned and controlled by Paramount Pictures [us] who bought the rights from MGM when they remade it as A Breath of Scandal (1960).
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This was not John Gilbert's first talking picture. His first was "Redemption" but Gilbert was so dissatisfied with the way the film turned out that he asked to hold it back for a while, in hope that his next film would make a better talking debut. This is why the films came out in a reversed order. (source: 'Dark Star' by Leatrice Gilbert.)
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There is rumor that Louis B. Mayer sped up or otherwise tampered with John Gilbert's voice to ruin his career. In fact, Gilbert's voice is perfectly normal in this film, neither high nor strange. Rather, his performance is marred by silly dialogue and too-careful pronunciation.
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