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The Firebird (1934)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Romance  |  3 November 1934 (USA)
6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 134 users  
Reviews: 9 user

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Title: The Firebird (1934)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Verree Teasdale ...
Carola Pointer
...
Herman Brandt
...
John Pointer
...
Mariette Pointer
...
Police Inspector Miller
Dorothy Tree ...
Mrs. Jolan Brandt
Helen Trenholme ...
Mlle. Josephine Mousquet, the Governess
Hobart Cavanaugh ...
Emile, Brandt's Valet
Robert Barrat ...
Halasz, the Apartment House Manager
Hal K. Dawson ...
Assistant Stage Manager
Russell Hicks ...
Mr. Beyer, the Stage Manager
Spencer Charters ...
Max Bauer, the Porter
Etienne Girardot ...
Professor Peterson
Florence Fair ...
Thelma, the Pointer's Maid
Nan Grey ...
Alice von Attem (as Nan Gray)
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Storyline

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Genres:

Drama | Mystery | Romance

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

3 November 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ave de Fogo  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1936 Igor Stravinsky sued Warner Bros. over the 'misuse' of his themes from the ballet "The Firebird". In 1938 a French court awarded him one franc in damages, instead of the 300,000 francs he was claiming. See more »

Soundtracks

The Firebird Suite
(1919)
Music by Igor Stravinsky
Excerpts played during the opening credits and as background music
Played on a record several times
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Formulaic murder mystery is a small polished gem.
24 August 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Firebird is a typical thirties whodunit that turns out to be a surprising overachiever as cast and crew put on a highly impressive display of collective film craftsmanship. Rather than just go through the motions with the standard stock characters reciting their lines director William Dieterle embellishes the proceedings with both comic and suspenseful incidentals, character nuance and a pace that only flags occasionally as he keeps the audience off balance with a myriad of suspects moving about the luxury apartment complex like characters in a Feydeau farce.

Herman Brandt, a popular stage actor begins to pursue a politician's wife who rebuffs his brazen advances but rather than make a scene and bring scandal to her politician husband they decide to move out. When the smarmy Brandt is murdered in his apartment suspects abound.

The Firebird's scenario is standard Chan, Moto, Saint plot line that quickly rises to another level through Dieterle's energetic rhythm of cutting and character idiosyncrasies that flood scenes with rich detail and engrossing composition by way of Ernest Haller's fine camera work and Anton Grot's beautifully lit, lush but unpretentious sets. Ralph Dawson's editing perfectly accents the tempo by seamlessly melding it to the physical action of exits and entrances.

Unhampered by a big star Firebird's cast is nearly pitch perfect in type and creating ambiguity. Dieterle is not content to have the actor's stand around with gaping mouths and side glances as the plot unwinds. Whether it's the small roll of the concierge, the governess, valet or tenant Dieterle infuses them with an offbeat individuality that results in both sustaining suspense and delivering some sharp gallows humor. C.Aubrey Smith's police inspector appears noble but employs devious method. His excellency played by Lionel Atwill is both sensitive and a book burner. Her excellency (Veree Teasdale) is also a traditionalist snob but ready willing and able to make the ultimate sacrifice.

While the melodrama may get a little thick at times The Firebird is a run of the mill mystery but its execution in terms of form and the comically provocative shots it takes at the class system, theatre people, cops and celebrity make it a diamond (albeit small carat) in the rough.


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