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Russia, 1910. Yegor, a dashing (as well as singing) bandit leader meets Princess Vera at a mountain inn. They end up falling in love, but the relationship is shattered when Yegor kills Vera's brother, Prince Serge, for raping his sister, Nadja, and driving her to suicide. Yegor kidnaps Vera, forcing her to live a life of lowly servitude among the bandits. Vera manages to outwit Yegor, who's captured by soldiers and flogged. Vera begs Yegor's forgiveness. Although still in love with each other, they realize they cannot be together, at least for the time being. Written by
Eugene Kim <email@example.com>
Complete audio track reveals dull and sluggish operetta
I have finally been able to hear the entire 101 minute audio track, preserved on disc. The film is lethargically paced and the ten Laurel and Hardy scenes are very short and have nothing to do with the plotting, just gags tacked onto the film to liven it up after poor preview response. The sound is not that good and of the ten musical numbers only two songs are worthy of praise - SWEET WHITE DOVE and WHEN I'M LOOKING AT YOU. In addition we have a RIDING SONG, SONG OF THE ROGUE, LOVE COMES, SONG OF THE LAUGHING MAN, NADJA'S SONG. There are two ballets and a lament.
Tibbett comes off well, self-confident and masculine in his bravura and sexy performance and his singing voice here is put to good use. One can see how he garnered a Best Actor nomination that year. There were a number of other performances nominated on the basis of pure charm (Ronald Colman in BULLDOG DRUMMOND, Maurice Chevalier in THE LOVE PARADE and THE BIG POND).
If this is ever found, it probably will be a disappointment for those who waited. The fragment of Laurel and Hardy with the bear (just over a minute) and the ballet (a few minutes) have surfaced as visual fragments and are housed at UCLA.
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