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John Francis Dillon
Joe E. Brown
This was a screen version of the 1925 operetta by Oscar Hammerstein II, Otto Harbach, Herbert Stohart, and George Gershwin. The story of the movie is about a peasant who is known as "The Flame" who leads a revolution in Russia. This peasant who is in love with a Russian prince saves his life by agreeing to sacrifice her virginity to an evil fellow-conspirator. This was an all Technicolor musical which was had a sequence in Vitascope (a Warner Brother's wide screen process). Written by
The five extant sound discs from this film reveal a very high quality Vitaphone sound - round, warm and clear with good sound effects and a quality reproduction of speaking and singing voices as well as orchestrations. It would seem it fully deserved its Oscar nomination for Best Sound.
Performance-wise Alexander Gray comes off as charming as usual- he made a handful of early talkies and proved himself a charming and handsome man, very much at ease. Sadly both his work in NO NO NANETTE and the pictorial portion of SONG OF THE FLAME is lost.
Bernice Claire in the lead has a babyish voice and poor dramatic ability -she sings well, but does not seem at home in talkies. Noah Beery as the villain is word perfect and pronounces so carefully that he lacks any dramatic vocal flair - an unnatural speaking voice with over careful diction.
The score is a marvelously operatic one. All nine songs are preserved in the sound disc performances. There were four choruses as well, three of traditional Russian folk tunes and one drawn from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker.
A delight to the ear - this "lost" operetta of the early days of talkies and film musicals.
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