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The Firefly (1937)

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 ... See full summary »



(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »

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Complete credited cast:
Marquis de Melito (as Douglas Dumbrille)
General Savary
Tom Rutherford ...
King Ferdinard (as Tom Rutherfurd)
Secret Service Chief
Duval (as Corbett Morris)
Robert Spindola ...


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 Kelly

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Jeanette MacDonald In Her Successor To "Maytime" See more »


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 November 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tarantella  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The original release prints featured color tinting of sequences in Sepia-Blue, Sepia-Orange, or Sepia-Blue-Pink. See more »


In one scene, women dance to a piece by Russian composer Korsakov. He was born in 1844, decades after Napoleon's era. See more »


Don Diego: You have one bad habit.
Nina Maria Azara: Oh, yes? What?
Don Diego: You're always saying good-bye.
Nina Maria Azara: Very well then, I won't say good-bye. I'll just go!
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Referenced in The Romance of Celluloid (1937) See more »


Giannina Mia: Finale
Music by Rudolf Friml
Lyrics by Otto A. Harbach
Sung by Jeanette MacDonald and Allan Jones
See more »

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User Reviews

Romance, Political Intrigue and the beautiful Jeanette MacDonald
13 January 2015 | by See all my reviews

France and England are at war. Napoleon has placed troops in Spain "to protect the Spanish" in case England invades.

There is a beautiful cantina singer (and dancer!) named Nina Maria (Jeanette MacDonald) whom men fight over. She works as a spy for Spain. When Napoleon invites Ferdinand--who appears guileless--to France for a meeting, Nina Maria must leave for France immediately to determine if Napoleon's intentions are honorable.

She is pursued there by Don Diego (Allan Jones), a man smitten by the senorita. Along the way, he tries to charm her by singing "The Donkey Serenade"--one of the most memorable moments in the film.

When they arrive in Bayonne, France, things get complicated. The senorita discovers someone is on to her. The love story becomes more political as Nina Maria must make alliances based on trust. Will she let her heart guide her actions? What is Napoleon's true objective?

The two leads are excellent. Much of the surrounding cast portray military characters and they are very strong.

The lavish sets and a large number of extras give the film a feeling of richness, as when Joseph Napoleon and his military escort ride into Madrid.

Part romance, part political intrigue, "The Firefly" entertains while Jeanette MacDonald shines.

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