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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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
Renée Adorée was ill with tuberculosis during filming, and the strenuous nature of filming aggravated her condition so much that she suffered hemorrhaging on set twice on set, almost shutting the production. See more »
By no means a "B" film in budget, but definitely one in story and technique. After seeing this effort, it's remarkably easy to understand why Novarro's stellar career declined so rapidly and dramatically in the sound era. It's not that there's anything wrong with his voice, it's just that his acting seems so ludicrously inept and his personality so colorless and lacking in charisma. Mind you, if you turn off the sound, then Novarro's gestures and even his persona appear quite acceptable. But with sound in this film, he's just ridiculous! True, the script itself is a load of old romantic melodrama that's about impossible to stomach, let alone get involved in. The only way to rescue this sort of operettish stew from the throw-out pot, is to pep it up with flair and imagination. Unfortunately, Charles Brabin is not this sort of chef at least not here. He did learn his lesson, but here his direction is little more than disinterested and/or routine. Even the sets lack the pictorial qualities we usually associate with Cedric Gibbons. The sound recording of course is poor. But at least the photography in the present wholly black-and-white version telecast by TCM retains appeal.
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