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Balalaika (1939)

Approved | | Musical, Romance | 29 December 1939 (USA)
A Russian prince disguised as a worker and a cafe singer secretly involved in revolutionary activities fall in love.

Director:

Reinhold Schünzel (as Reinhold Schunzel)

Writers:

Leon Gordon (screenplay), Charles Bennett (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nelson Eddy ... Prince Peter Karagin, aka Peter Teranda
Ilona Massey ... Lydia Pavlovna Marakova
Charles Ruggles ... Nicki Popoff (as Charlie Ruggles)
Frank Morgan ... Ivan Danchenoff
Lionel Atwill ... Prof. Marakov
C. Aubrey Smith ... Gen. Karagin
Joyce Compton ... Masha (Lydia's maid)
Dalies Frantz ... Dimitri Marakov
Walter Woolf King ... Capt. Michael Sibirsky
Phillip Terry ... Lt. Smirnoff
Frederick Worlock ... Ramensky
Abner Biberman ... Leo Proplinski
Arthur W. Cernitz Arthur W. Cernitz ... Capt. Sergei Pavloff
Roland Varno ... Lt. Nikitin
George Tobias ... Slaski (bartender)
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Storyline

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 <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Wine, women and song fill the screen as M-G-M thrills the world with its gay, dashing, musical triumph! See more »

Genres:

Musical | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 December 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Balalajka See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$362,700, 31 January 1940
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Lydia Pavlovna Marakova: [She and Peter are going fast in a horse-drawn carriage] Oh, careful. You're going too fast.
Prince Peter Karagin, aka Peter Teranda: Who? Me or the horses?
See more »

Connections

Featured in From the Ends of the Earth (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

At the Balalaika
Music by George Posford
Music by adaped by Herbert Stothart
Lyric by Robert Wright and Chet Forrest (as George Forrest)
Sung by Illona Massey and the Russian Art Choir
also sung by Walter Woolf King
also sung by Nelson Eddy
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nelson Eddy proves he can carry a film
17 June 2003 | by kinder-1See all my reviews

Nelson Eddy and Ilona Massey Make a handsome couple in a gorgeous setting. Ilona portrays an anarchist in pre WW1 Russia who falls in love with a Russian prince, played with strength and humor by Nelson Eddy. Their duets are pleasing, and Nelson sings magnificently in Russian, German, French and English. The black and white photography captures the period and costumes well, and the two stars are so strikingly similar in looks, they could easily be siblings. Nelson demonstrates once again, what a loss he was to opera, but how fortunate to have him on film and hear that magnificent baritone.


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