From a poor working class background, Juan de Dios is a cantina performer in Seville, singing and dancing with his partner Lola. They have a contentious professional and personal ...
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Austrian Emperor Franz Josef has arranged a marriage for his nephew, the Archduke Paul Gustave - nicknamed Gustl - to the suitable Princess Matilda, a woman Gustl can't even remember. He is... See full summary »
From a poor working class background, Juan de Dios is a cantina performer in Seville, singing and dancing with his partner Lola. They have a contentious professional and personal relationship, her jealous self who cannot tolerate his constant flirting. He really aspires to be a serious opera singer, he under the tutelage of Estaban. Once the greatest impresario in Spain himself, Estaban lost everything because of the same reckless behavior that Juan now exhibits, that behavior which Estaban is trying to quell in Juan. Estaban's plan is to get one of his old contacts in Madrid, an impresario, to manage Juan's career to get him serious singing gigs, leading to that fame and fortune Esteban once used to have. It's love at first sight when Juan meets Maria Consuelo Vargas. What he initially doesn't know is that their meeting was by no accident, as she, a postulant at St. Agustín convent who just escaped from that life, had been mesmerized by him and his singing every time she saw him as ... Written by
None of the Technicolor sequences, as described in the New York Times review in October 1930, originally totaling 720 feet (220 m), (approximately 8 minutes), including at least one aria (Vesti la Giubba from Pagliacci) by Novarro, seem to have survived; they were missing from the 100 minute print telecast by TBS in 1988-1989 and by Turner Classic Movies in 1997 and 2014. See more »
A brash cantina singer in Sevilla heeds the CALL OF THE
when he romances a young postulant from a nearby convent.
Sometimes movie studios make most unwise decisions,
resulting in ramifications that can be quite detrimental to
careers of even their biggest stars. CALL OF THE FLESH is
case in point. Good production values & fine performances
not save this film from its one fatal flaw: it is difficult to like,
even tolerate, the hero.
Ramon Novarro, usually quite the pleasant fellow, here
forced to play a repellent rogue who quickly irritates
audience with his cruel treatment of those who love him
Oozing a smarmy charm, he alternately smirks & pouts his
through the plot, until his eventual - and much belated
regeneration. Novarro's undoubted acting abilities enable
to deliver a fine performance, but mischievousness mixed
too much meanness can result in viewer apathy.
This did not help his career. The fad for the Latin Lover
wearing mighty thin already and would soon be completely
eclipsed by the All American Hero, and Novarro's sexual
ambiguity was always a bit of a problem for the MGM front
office. The advent of Sound, while finally revealing his
singing voice, also exhibited his Mexican accent, making
difficult to cast him in traditional roles. The Studio
couldn't come up with a definitive screen persona for him,
so Novarro was made into their ethnic chameleon, playing
everything from Chinese to Arab to Navajo.
Novarro's costars come through very well. Dorothy Jordan
radiant as the innocent young woman who loves him with
every fiber of her being; she delivers a heart touching,
memorable performance. Flamboyant & hammy, Scottish actor
Ernest Torrence is terrific as Novarro's friend & mentor
although one has to wonder just why he was willing to put
with so much nonsense from the little squirt. Equally adept
drama or comedy, Torrence's theatrical mannerisms and the
contortions of his great homely face make him both
entertaining to the audience and an enjoyable contrast
handsome Novarro. French actress Renée Adorée, in her final
film, stirs up the flames in her role as Novarro's musical
partner & lover. (Ill health would bring about the early
of both Torrence & Adorée in 1933 - he at 54 and she at
Today, these two fine performers are virtually forgotten.)
Mention should be made of Mathilde Comont, hilarious as
rotund little diva turned landlady.
Novarro is in good voice throughout, which is fortunate as
plot keeps him singing interminably.
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