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 ... See full summary »
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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
Although some modern sources claim this film was photographed in Vitascope, the 65mm process used by Warner Bros. for 'Kismet (1930)' and 'The Lash (1930)', this is unlikely. Variety (14 May 1930) reports that wide screen projection was used for the festival sequence, but this is more likely another example of the frequently used Magnascope process, which simply enlarged standard 35mm film to larger proportions on a larger screen. This film was released almost six months before the other Vitascope productions, and there is no evidence that the process was ever used earlier and/or for less than a complete feature. See more »
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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