The Gay Desperado

Overview

Rouben Mamoulian's uproarious comedy The Gay Desperado (1936) was one of a handful of talkies produced by Mary Pickford at United Artists and comes to DVD courtesy of the Mary Pickford Foundation and Milestone Films. In contrast to the way most movies held by estates and smaller distributors usually look on DVD -- which is to say, poorly preserved and filled with flaws -- this picture looks and sounds exceptionally good. Indeed, there are major studio releases from the same decade that haven't come to digital ...
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Overview

Rouben Mamoulian's uproarious comedy The Gay Desperado (1936) was one of a handful of talkies produced by Mary Pickford at United Artists and comes to DVD courtesy of the Mary Pickford Foundation and Milestone Films. In contrast to the way most movies held by estates and smaller distributors usually look on DVD -- which is to say, poorly preserved and filled with flaws -- this picture looks and sounds exceptionally good. Indeed, there are major studio releases from the same decade that haven't come to digital disc looking this good, and the quality would seem to be a credit to the U.C.L.A. Film Archive, which did a major restoration job on the film. The volume takes a bit of a boost but not nearly as much as some movies have needed, and when Metropolitan Opera star Nino Martini starts to sing...this becomes one of the prettier musicals as well as one of the funnier comedies of its period. The picture is sharp in every shot, and the contrasts are amazingly rich and varied with a vast range of detail and shadings. The 87-minute movie has been given 14 chapters that are well chosen as an outline of the plot. The disc opens automatically to the movie, with the chapter selection accessible manually through a sequential menu. There are no extras or bonus materials, but this movie is funny enough to carry itself just fine without any help.
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Special Features

[None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The Gay Desperado is tremendously silly, a fact which may put off some viewers, but those with a tolerance for all things quirky will find it engaging and charming. True, Desperado is not perfect; there are some stretches where the tone isn't quite right, where one might wish the daffiness where either a trifle more or a triffle less pronounced. And there's no doubt that Nino Martini is a far better singer than he is an actor, yet Martini's performance is so guileless (and so in keeping with the demands of his naïve character) that it works splendidly, in spite of the actor's deficiencies. He also works quite well with Ida Lupino, who gives a thoroughly winning performance, full of spunk and life, and imbued with a wonderful sense of timing and style. Leo Carillo and Harold Huber make a delightfully ridiculous pair of bandits, enlivening the proceedings throughout with their simple but amusing banter. Rouben Mamoulian has directed with tremendous style and wit, and makes good use of his obsession with shadows several times throughout the film; the entire visual look is a delight, with shots of startlingly tall cacti or oversized yucca plants adding to the film's outlandish tone. Desperado may be a bit of a jumble, and its lampooning may attempt a few too many genres, but it's so good-natured that most will forgive it these flaws.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/20/2001
  • UPC: 014381919929
  • Original Release: 1936
  • Rating:

  • Source: Image Entertainment
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Black & White / Mono
  • Sound: monaural
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:27:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Nino Martini Chivo
Ida Lupino Jane
Leo Carrillo Pablo Braganza
Harold Huber Campo
James "Doc" Blakely Bill
Stanley Fields Butch
Mischa Auer Diego
Adrian Rosley Radio Station Manager
Paul Hurst American Detective
Allan Garcia Police Captain
Frank Puglia Lopez
Michael Visaroff Theatre Manager
Chris-Pin Martin Pancho
Harry Semels Manuel
George Ducount Salvador
Alfonso Pedroza Coloso
Manuel Alvarez Maciste Guitar Soloist
Technical Credits
Rouben Mamoulian Director
Lucien Andriot Cinematographer
Leo Birinski Original Story
Richard Day Art Director
Jesse Lasky Producer
Alfred Newman Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Mary Pickford Producer
Wallace Smith Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Side #1 -- THE GAY DESPERADO
0. Chapter Index
1. Main Title [2:37]
2. Mexican Gangsters [6:10]
3. Braganza's Personal Singer [10:28]
4. Running From The Law [4:36]
5. Amateur Bandit [4:16]
6. Kidnapping Bandit [6:51]
7. The Escape [8:06]
8. A Lover's Quarrel [8:10]
9. The Firing Squad [15:27]
10. Captured Again [4:10]
11. Chino Gets Arrested [2:11]
12. The Tables Are Turned [7:42]
13. Making A Deal [3:23]
14. Reunited Love [3:15]
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Menu

Main
Side #1 -- THE GAY DESPERADO
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