From the Golden Age of Television, a live TV performance of the famed operetta, more faithful to the original than either the 1943 or 1953 film versions.

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(television adaptation) (as William Friedberg), (television adaptation) | 5 more credits »
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Cast

Credited cast:
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Gale Sherwood ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Rod Alexander ...
Dancer
Salvatore Baccaloni ...
Felisa Conde ...
Castagnette Dancer
John Conte ...
Viola Essen ...
...
Bambi Linn ...
Dancer
Earl William ...
Hassi
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From the Golden Age of Television, a live TV performance of the famed operetta, more faithful to the original than either the 1943 or 1953 film versions.

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Musical

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7 May 1955 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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The Desert Song opened at the Casino Theatre on November 30, 1926 and ran for 471 performances. See more »

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Version of The Red Shadow (1932) See more »

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A pleasure to watch
17 August 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

If we were to compare the 1953 film and this 1955 television production, it is not easy to say which is the superior version because it is largely dependent on one's taste. Personally they are both very good in their own way, 1953's was lavish and entertaining with charming leads and Raymond Massey's villain while this had the wonderful pairing of Nelson Eddy and Gale Sherwood and also has the advantage of being much more faithful with more of the songs and dances included. It's not perfect, the sets are primitive, the costumes are not that reflective of the period or setting of the musical(they are perhaps forgivable in a way though because this was televised so of course it would not look as good as the 1953 film) and Nelson Eddy does seem tired and acts stiffly at times, Gordon McRae in the film was superior on that front. The music is fantastic though and it is great to hear the highlights as well as what was missing in the film version with beautiful orchestration and good tempos. There's not an awful lot of dancing, but they're witty and seductive(in a way that's distinctively Arabic) as well as danced in a spirited fashion, they do give a sense of time and place and don't go on for too long. The dialogue amuses and moves while the story is far more probable now that all the original plot sequences are included(even with some trimming for time constraints) and is better paced than the film. The supporting cast all play solidly, though none are quite as memorable as Massey in the film. But Eddy and Sherwood are the main reasons to see, and while Eddy's acting is not the greatest he shares a marvellous rapport with Sherwood and his voice is still magnificent, vocal-wise he and Gordon McRae are equal. Sherwood is better in the acting department and has a really pleasant lilt to her voice, if not quite as beautiful as that of Kathryn Grayson. It is also surprising to hear how well- fabulously even- Eddy and Sherwood blend together, even better than Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald and they were a match made in heaven. All in all, a real pleasure to watch. 8/10 Bethany Cox


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