From a poor working class background, Juan de Dios is a cantina performer in Seville, singing and dancing with his partner Lola. They have a contentious professional and personal ...
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From a poor working class background, Juan de Dios is a cantina performer in Seville, singing and dancing with his partner Lola. They have a contentious professional and personal relationship, her jealous self who cannot tolerate his constant flirting. He really aspires to be a serious opera singer, he under the tutelage of Estaban. Once the greatest impresario in Spain himself, Estaban lost everything because of the same reckless behavior that Juan now exhibits, that behavior which Estaban is trying to quell in Juan. Estaban's plan is to get one of his old contacts in Madrid, an impresario, to manage Juan's career to get him serious singing gigs, leading to that fame and fortune Esteban once used to have. It's love at first sight when Juan meets Maria Consuelo Vargas. What he initially doesn't know is that their meeting was by no accident, as she, a postulant at St. Agustín convent who just escaped from that life, had been mesmerized by him and his singing every time she saw him as ...Written by
None of the Technicolor sequences, as described in the New York Times review in October 1930, originally totaling 720 feet (220 m), (approximately 8 minutes), including at least one aria (Vesti la Giubba from Pagliacci) by Novarro, seem to have survived; they were missing from the 100 minute print telecast by TBS in 1988-1989 and by Turner Classic Movies in 1997 and 2014. See more »
Ramon Novarro's pedestrian sound period hastened an end to his film career and Call of the Flesh may well be the vehicle that pushed him over the cliff. In the silent era Novarro's handsome chiseled features, dark eyes and killer smile showed him adept at both drama (The Red LIly, The Pagan) and romantic comedy ( The Student Prince of Heidleberg) but in Call of the Flesh he is a triple fret as speaks, sings and dances dreadfully.
Juan Di Deos is a carefree entertainer that loves to play tricks and chase the ladies. His fiery dance partner Lola (Renee Adoree) is often the victim of his childish pranks but is crazy about the guy. Nun in training Maria Vasquez however is the one that captures his heart. Career wise he has the same laissez faire attitude which frustrates his mentor Esteban who pulls strings to get him an audition with an opera impresario. When Juan botches it Esteban reverts to bribery to get him on the stage. Meanwhile Lola gets wind Juan's romancing the good sister and tries to break it up.
Call of the Flesh is early sound at its worst. Without his title cards doing the talking Novarro comes across like a mischievous twelve year old. The timber in his voice fails to live up to his look and his singing and dancing would get the hook at a local amateur show. Aquitting themselves as shabbily as Novarro fellow silent film alumni Ernest Torrence and the ailing Renee Adoree overact monstrously while fresh faces Dorothy Jordan and Russell Hopton make it clear they will have short careers.
Charles Brabin's direction is haphazard and flat as he allows his troupe to step on each others lines and display bad timing; some of it so poor you get the feeling he might have had his face buried in a newspaper oblivious to the action being recorded. One could hardly fault him for averting his eyes since Call of the Flesh is dead meat from the opening reel.
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