Prince Peter Karagin, an officer in the Cossack army, sees and hears lovely Lydia Marakova in the cafe Balalaika in St. Petersburg and wants to meet her. When he hears she likes to fraternize with a lower class of people, he gives a student 50 rubles for his clothing. She eventually accepts his persistant presence and they fall in love. Peter uses his influence to get Lydia an audition at the opera house, where she is hired and is scheduled to perform later. The Prince, however, is not aware that she, her father and brother are part of a revolutionary movement. Their mutual deception is quickly shattered when Peter and the Cossacks violently break up a revolutionary rally in the public square, where Lydia's brother is killed. Soon afterwards, she learns that the rebels plan to assassinate Peter and his uncle, General Karagin, at the opera house on opening night, and still in love, she warns Peter not to go to the performance. He cancels the reservations, but General Karagin decides to... Written by
Arthur Hausner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This movie asks the question, can a Cossack boy and a Bolshevik girl find true happiness either in old mother Russia or the new Soviet Union?
In this movie the answer is no. Nelson Eddy and Ilona Massey are attracted to each other, but background and politics strive to keep them apart.
While he was at MGM, Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald did very few films with other leads and in this one Nelson gets to act with the women who he did the second amount of co-starring with. Ilona Massey cuts a fine figure as a revolutionary with her father, Lionel Atwill who is a music teacher by day and a Bolshevik by night.
Nelson Eddy apparently liked Russian themes. He did two other films with Russian elements in them, The Chocolate Soldier and Northwest Passage. His singing in Russian of The Volga Boatman is the high point of Balalaika.
My favorite performer in this however is Charlie Ruggles. He plays Nelson Eddy's orderly and he plays the fool quite well. He steers clear of politics, but ultimately winds up the only real winner in this movie.
Not the best or the worst of Nelson Eddy's screen efforts, but enjoyable.
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