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The Desert Song (1929)

The Desert Song is a 1929 American Pre-Code operetta film directed by Roy Del Ruth and starring John Boles, Louise Fazenda, and Myrna Loy.

Director:

Roy Del Ruth

Writers:

Harvey Gates (screenplay), Oscar Hammerstein II (play) | 3 more credits »
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Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Boles ... The Red Shadow (Pierre Birbeau)
Carlotta King ... Margot
Louise Fazenda ... Susan
Johnny Arthur ... Benny Kidd
Edward Martindel ... Gen. Birbeau
Jack Pratt ... Pasha
Roberto E. Guzmán Roberto E. Guzmán ... Sid El Kar
Otto Hoffman ... Hasse
Marie Wells ... Clementina
John Miljan ... Capt. Paul Fontaine
Del Elliott Del Elliott ... Rebel
Myrna Loy ... Azuri
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lester Cole Lester Cole
Peggy Dale Peggy Dale
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Storyline

The Desert Song is a 1929 American Pre-Code operetta film directed by Roy Del Ruth and starring John Boles, Louise Fazenda, and Myrna Loy.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

operetta | See All (1) »

Taglines:

LIVING, THROBBING, MELODY, POURING FROM THE SCREEN WITH BOUNDLESS MAGNIFICENCE-THE SUPREME ACHIEVEMENT OF MODERN MOTION PICTURE ART! (Print ad-The Evening Independent,((St. Petersburg, Fla.)) 18 May 1929) See more »

Genres:

Musical

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Vitaphone production reels #3141-3154; the overture was released on a separate disc, Vitaphone production reel #2930. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Myrna Loy (1961) See more »

User Reviews

 
Historical marvel
13 January 2008 | by Kevin ClarkeSee all my reviews

Okay, as a film this isn't the greatest achievement: it's static beyond belief. And I imagine back in 1929 it wasn't a huge success. But seen today, it allows us to witness a performance tradition that is lost. This "Desert Song" looks (and sounds) like a filmed stage performance of one of the most popular Broadway-operettas of the 1920s. All the melodramatic acting is there, the exaggerated comic stuff... and all the cross-gender jokes that would be politically incorrect today. (About Pierre being "like a sister" to Margot and Benny not being "a real man".) Put together, you can imagine how such a way of performing operetta worked on stage back then. And it's a shame no one does it like this any more - because the (homosexual) jokes (among others) are really funny. Also, you get to hear the entire score nearly intact, as played on Broadway. The singing isn't great throughout. But combined with the acting and good looks (especially of the Red Shadow) and combined with the phenomenal orchestra the music impresses. Hopefully someone will issue a soundtrack one day. And hopefully someone will release the film on commercial DVD, as a historic document of a great show done 'historically correct.' Compared with the later 'heroic' versions of "Desert Song" on film, this one is pure fun. And still touching at the same time. A mad romance in Marocco...


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 April 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Desert Song See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$354,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone)

Color:

Black and White | Color (2-strip Technicolor) (one sequence)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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