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Nina Maria Azara is the beautiful and alluring singing spy for Spain during the Napoleonic Wars. Her mission is to seduce French Officers, in order for them to reveal Napolean's intentions toward Spain. She is sent to Bayonne, France to gather military secrets. Prior to this, she meets, Don Diego while performing at a club. Unknown to her, Don Diego is actually Captain Andre, who is sent to Spain to spy on her. While in France, Nina discovers Diego's true identity, only after she has fallen in love with him. Nina Maria outwits her potential captors and returns to Spain, and goes into hiding. Napoleon's troops invade Spain, resulting in Nina's capture. In a strange twist of fate, Nina and Captain Andre are reunited, but, the 2 nations are now at war... Written by
The song "Donkey Serenade" was not in the original stage production. It was written for the film, but the music was adapted from the song "Chansonette", from the stage version of "The Firefly". See more »
I am told that the original plot of The Firefly has seen on Broadway back in 1912 had absolutely nothing to do with the Peninsular Campaign of the Napoleonic Wars. Hard to believe because the plot here seems so right.
The core of the plot is duty to one's country. Though Allan Jones and Jeanette MacDonald are on opposite sides and love each other, at some point each betrays the other at some point in the movie to gain a tactical advantage for France or Spain.
The Rudolf Friml-Otto Harbach-Oscar Hammerstein II, is mostly retained for the movie. One new song, based on a Friml instrumental composition called Chanson, is given a lyric by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest and arranged by MGM's house composer Herbert Stothart. Their combined efforts yielded The Donkey Serenade and provided Allan Jones a signature song for the rest of his career.
Jeanette was taking a rest from her usual singing partner, Nelson Eddy, and her teaming with Jones was felicitous. They are a pair of winning songbirds. Maybe had Jones stayed with MGM, he and MacDonald might have made some more films together. Maybe he might have played some of the parts that Nelson Eddy did opposite her. But he probably was right in thinking he'd always be number 2 at MGM, so he moved to Universal.
Beautiful singing and a decent plot in this one. Go see it.
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