Rather than build their own opera-house set for the final concert sequence, RKO went to Universal and shot the sequence on the standing set built for the 1925 Lon Chaney, Sr. version of "The Phantom of the Opera." See more »
Hilda's name in the ads reads "Madame Hilda Bouverie." In fact, she is not supposed to be married at this point in the movie, and so should have been referred to as "Mademoiselle Hilda Bouverie." See more »
STINGAREE was the first of the great Irene Dunne musicals: SWEET ADELINE; ROBERTA; SHOW BOAT; HIGH, WIDE, & HANDSOME; and JOY OF LIVING, count em, six films (aside from 1930's LEATHERNECKING, but no one counts that!) is all you got. How can that be? She's my favorite! She sang in other pictures, but these six were the full-blown star vehicles for Kern's favorite movie soprano. Without a doubt, STINGAREE is the strangest, and, oh yeah, Jerome Kern is no where to be heard. We get some "Martha" and "Faust," and mostly several reprisals of a song called "Tonight is Mine," written by the talented Australian bandit, the Stingaree, himself. He let's her have this song, dedicated to her, and thus sets her on her path to international Opera acclaim. Sure, she is assisted by impresario Conway Tearle, and along the way we meet dignitaries and governors and even Disraeli, but no one can ever touch her true heart like the Stingaree could. And why not, after all, it is RKO's resident veteran stud, the Rod Taylor of the Twenties, Mr. Richard Dix who is portraying the dashing, debonaire, and musically inclined robs-from-the-rich, etc, legend. We get the music, the scenery, the costuming, the lush period detail, the horses, the chases, the fisticuffs, the... hey, what is this, a Richard Dix western, or is it one of the great Irene Dunne musicals? Well, there you have it. Based on E. W. Hornung's (RAFFLES) novel, STINGAREE is one of the most neglected, forgotten hybrids of the decade. It was screened in Syracuse last year, and while everyone questioned the reasoning behind its creation, all agreed it was an unusual, entertaining achievement. For STINGAREE is, in fact, a rather exciting (if fabulously improbable) action picture AND a desert topping. It was one of the big RKO releases of that season, and as such, boasts the best the studio could muster, and this included some important character work by some of our finest, including Andy Devine as Mr. Dix's (and the pictures') comedy relief side-kick (another vote for "it's a western"). Henry Stephenson (DOUBLE HARNESS; HEARTS DIVIDED; CONQUEST), not to be confused with another marvelous actor, James Stephenson (THE LETTER), is on hand to play the husband of a flighty, self-important woman who attempts to stand in poor Irene Dunne's way, and who else could portray such a woman but the great Mary Boland? Not simply a pitiful comedic plot device, Boland's fearless performance blends the charming and the likeable (and often purposefully annoying) Mary Boland, with un-reigned egoism, calculated duplicity, and an unexpected Agnes Moorehead-level guile. Let's hope they can find the funding to restore this classic!
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