Balalaika

Balalaika

Director: Reinhold Schünzel, Nelson Eddy, Ilona Massey, Charlie Ruggles

Cast: Reinhold Schünzel, Nelson Eddy, Ilona Massey, Charlie Ruggles

     
 

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In this romantic musical, a Russian prince sees a lovely singer in a town cafe and falls head-over-heels. Realizing that he cannot be seen with her in royal garb, he masquerades as a worker. Later he secretly arranges for her to sing at the Imperial Opera. Unfortunately, his father the emperor is wounded that night by the wicked Reds. The girl's father is among the

Overview

In this romantic musical, a Russian prince sees a lovely singer in a town cafe and falls head-over-heels. Realizing that he cannot be seen with her in royal garb, he masquerades as a worker. Later he secretly arranges for her to sing at the Imperial Opera. Unfortunately, his father the emperor is wounded that night by the wicked Reds. The girl's father is among the would-be assassins. Years pass. Just before the dawn of WWII, the girl and her family are exiled to Siberia while the former prince heads for Paris to become a famous nightcub singer. When revolution erupts in Russia, the girl is freed and the lovers are eventually reunited.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Balalaika's title, combined with the knowledge that it is an operetta, is enough to let astute viewers know that they are in for a ridiculous romance set in a foreign land (or lands) that is going to depend upon much more heavily upon its score, cast or physical production (or a combination of the three) than upon its screenplay. Indeed, this turns out to be the case, for Balalaika's story is a soppy, derivative and quite artificial one, and the screenplay concocted around it has done nothing to alleviate these conditions. Because of this initial handicap, Balalaika has to struggle to provide real entertainment. Fortunately, the film does have a number of assets to compensate, including star Nelson Eddy. Granted, Eddy does the film few favors in his dialogue scenes, as drama was never his real forte. But his heavenly baritone more than makes up for his histrionic shortcomings, and he is marvelous when singing here. Indeed, his "Silent Night" is stunningly beautiful and also benefits from a very strong presentation in one of director Reinhold Schunzel's nicest and most effective sequences. Co-star Ilona Massey provides glamour and considerably more dramatic skill and more than holds her own in the musical sequences. The sets and costumes are lavish and opulent, and Frank Morgan's rendition of "Land of Dreams" is genuine moving. None of this makes Balalaika a great film, but it does raise the entertainment value significantly.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/08/2012
UPC:
0883316450260
Original Release:
1939
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:42:00
Sales rank:
28,107

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Nelson Eddy Prince Peter Karagin
Ilona Massey Lydia Pavlovna Marakova
Charlie Ruggles Pvt. Nicki Popoff
Frank Morgan Ivan Danchenoff
Lionel Atwill Prof. Marakov
C. Aubrey Smith Gen. Karagin
Joyce Compton Masha, Lydia's Maid
Walter Woolf King Capt. Sibirsky
Phillip Terry Lt. Smirnoff
Abner Biberman Leo
Roland Varno Lt. Nikitin
George Tobias Slaski, the Counterman
Paul Sutton Anton
William Costello Capt. Testoff
Paul Irving Prince Morodin
Mildred Shay Jeanette Sibirsky
Alma Kruger Mrs. Danchenoff
Zeffie Tilbury Princess Morodin
Lee Phelps Doorman
Dalies Frantz Dimitri Marakov
Frederic Worlock Dr. Ramensky
John Holland Actor

Technical Credits
Reinhold Schünzel Director
Adrian Costumes/Costume Designer
William Axt Musical Direction/Supervision
Charles Bennett Screenwriter
George Boemler Editor
Jack Dawn Makeup
Jacques Deval Screenwriter
George Forrest Songwriter
Karl W. Freund Cinematographer
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Leon Gordon Screenwriter
Eddie Imazu Art Director
Gus Kahn Songwriter
Eric Maschwitz Screenwriter
Ernst Matray Choreography
Joseph Ruttenberg Cinematographer
Herbert Stothart Score Composer,Songwriter
Lawrence Weingarten Producer
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design
Robert Wright Songwriter

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