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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 <email@example.com>
This film's initial telecast in Los Angeles took place Thursday 21 November 1957 on KTTV (Channel 11), followed by Philadelphia Thursday 13 February 1958 on WFIL (Channel 6); in San Francisco it first aired 8 July 1959 on KGO (Channel 7), and, finally, in New York City, 17 May 1961 on WCBS (Channel 2). See more »
In "Balalaika," Nelson Eddy plays Prince Peter Karagin, an officer in the Cossack army. One night he sees the beautiful Lydia Marakova, who sings in a St. Petersburg café.
Lydia is truly of the people, not one to like royalty, so he poses as a voice student in order to meet her. He wins her over.
In fact, Lydia, her father, and her brother are part of a revolutionary movement. When Peter and his Cossacks break up a rally and her brother is killed, both learn the truth about one another. However, Lydia is still in love with him. When she learned that the rebels were going to assassinate Peter and his uncle at the opera house on her opening night, she tells him not to come, that she will be too nervous with him and his uncle there.
On stage, just as she feels she can relax because they're not there, they show up in their opera box. In the middle of the opera, war with Germany is announced.
Not much of a movie - Massey is lovely, kind of a cross between the young, stunning Zsa Zsa Gabor and Scarlett Johansson -- but in order to play opposite the wooden and unexciting Eddy, you need Jeannette McDonald's fire and sparkle. What Eddy had going for him, besides good looks, was one of the greatest voices in film, and he sings here like an absolute dream. Massey had a pretty voice, but her top was screechy, and in the first number she sings, she's flat.
The rest of the cast is good - Lionel Atwill, Frank Morgan, Charles Ruggles, and C. Aubrey Smith, all top pros.
Mildly entertaining, notable for Eddy's vocals.
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