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12 user 3 critic

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 »

Director:

Robert Z. Leonard

Writers:

Frances Goodrich (screen play), Albert Hackett (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jeanette MacDonald ... Nina Maria Azara
Allan Jones ... Don Diego
Warren William ... Major de Rouchemont
Billy Gilbert ... Innkeeper
Douglass Dumbrille ... Marquis de Melito (as Douglas Dumbrille)
Henry Daniell ... General Savary
Leonard Penn ... Etienne
Tom Rutherford ... King Ferdinard (as Tom Rutherfurd)
Belle Mitchell ... Lola
George Zucco ... Secret Service Chief
Corbet Morris ... Duval (as Corbett Morris)
Matthew Boulton ... Wellington
Robert Spindola Robert Spindola ... Juan
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Jeanette MacDonald Is The Luminous Singing Spy! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 November 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tarantella See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song "Donkey Serenade" was not in the original stage production. It was written for the film, but the music was adapted from the song "Chansonette", from the stage version of "The Firefly". See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

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!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Each time the dancing girls dance across the screen, a new screen credit is revealed. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Jeanette MacDonald (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

English March
(uncredited)
Sung by Chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
singing amid the battles
27 February 2015 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Jeannette MacDonald and Allan Jones star with Warren William in "The Firefly," a 1937 MGM film.

MacDonald plays Nina Maria Azara, a singer, who is also a spy for Spain during the Napoleonic Wars. She is to seduce French officers and find out Napoleon's plans for Spain.

She meets Don Diego, who pursues her while she is working as a singer. She has to stave him off in order to meet with those who can give her information, among them Major de Rouchemont (William).

Don Diego keeps showing up, including on her trip to Bayonne. There, the famous Donkey Serenade is introduced. Unknown to her, Don Diego is actually Captain Andre, who is sent to Spain to spy on her.

The story is a backdrop for all of the music, and there is a ton of it. MacDonald's voice was highly touted; with today's ears, it was a lovely voice, particularly in the middle, but I was never crazy about her top notes. I think it was just the way women were trained by then. She was a beautiful woman and a fine, fiery actress, and her popularity was well deserved. She does a good job here.

Allan Jones was not the most sparkling presence -- he certainly was no match for MacDonald in that department -- but he truly had a beautiful voice. Warren William was very good in a villainous role.

Most of the music was written by Rudolf Friml and Herbert Stothart, so you need to like operetta in order to like this film, and also classical voices.


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