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The Gay Desperado (1936)

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Opera singer Chivo is currently playing a singing cowboy, and Mexican bandito Braganza kidnaps him (along with Jane, an heiress) so he can learn to become more like the American movie gangsters he admires.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nino Martini ...
Leo Carrillo ...
Pablo Braganza
Harold Huber ...
Juan Campo
James Blakeley ...
Bill Shay
Stanley Fields ...
Adrian Rosley ...
Radio Station Manager
Paul Hurst ...
American Detective
Al Ernest Garcia ...
Police Captain
Frank Puglia ...
Michael Visaroff ...
Theatre Manager
Chris-Pin Martin ...
Pancho (as Chris King Martin)
Harry Semels ...
George Du Count ...


Opera singer Chivo is currently playing a singing cowboy, and Mexican bandito Braganza kidnaps him (along with Jane, an heiress) so he can learn to become more like the American movie gangsters he admires.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

opera | bandit | mexico | radio


THE GIANT MUSICAL HIT OF THE YEAR! (original ad - all caps)


Comedy | Musical





Release Date:

2 October 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Canta Bandoleiro Canta  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Featured in Mary Pickford: A Life on Film (1997) See more »


Lamento Gitano/Gypsy Lament
Spanish words and music by María Grever
English version by Walter G. Samuels, Leonard Whitcup and Teddy Powell
See more »

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User Reviews

Well, you certainly can say this is different!!
18 June 2009 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

In a rather bizarre opening scene, a room full of Mexicans are at the theater watching a gangster film. It's odd because all the men have huge sombreros (hats) on--making it practically impossible for anyone to see the film. Suddenly, a fight breaks out and Leo Carrillo's gang takes on the rest of the audience. In a panic, the theater owner has Chivo (Nino Martini) take the stage and begin singing, as he has an amazingly beautiful tenor voice. The fight stops almost immediately, as everyone (especially Carrillo) is in love with the voice. I usually hate this sort of singing, but I also was amazed--he was that good.

Afterwords, Carrillo announces that Chivo MUST join his gang--or else. Given little choice, Chivo agrees and the next thing you know, Carrillo and his gang take over a local radio station and force everyone to listen to Chivo's operatic stylings! As the gang makes a getaway (after all, the police are coming), the come upon two young people and kidnap them (one, by the way, is a young Ida Lupino, who plays Jane). Chivo is smitten with Jane and makes an amazingly awkward play for her--it's a scene you just have to see to believe.

In the meantime, Carrillo goes in search of an American bandit, Butch. Carrillo mistakenly thinks that American bandits are like the ones featured in gangster films and wants Butch to teach them how to act like these film crooks! So how does all this get resolved? Does Chivo get to leave the gang? What about Lupino and her now ex-boyfriend? And does the gang become more Americanized--with gang members who act more like Jimmy Cagney and Edward G. Robinson? Tune in yourself to this silly yet strangely enjoyable B-movie.

Pluses are Nino Martini's amazing voice, cute supporting characters and a light and silly atmosphere. Minuses are Nino Martini's almost constant singing--a little went a very long way. In addition, the script is basically fluff. Enjoyable fluff, but still fluff.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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