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The Desert Song (1929)

The Desert Song is a 1929 American Pre-Code operetta film directed by Roy Del Ruth and starring John Boles, Louise Fazenda, and Myrna Loy.


Roy Del Ruth


Harvey Gates (screenplay), Oscar Hammerstein II (play) | 3 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
John Boles ... The Red Shadow
Carlotta King ... Margot
Louise Fazenda ... Susan
Johnny Arthur ... Benny Kidd
Edward Martindel ... Gen. Bierbeau
Jack Pratt Jack Pratt ... Pasha
Roberto E. Guzmán Roberto E. Guzmán ... Sid El Kar
Otto Hoffman ... Hasse
Marie Wells ... Clementina
John Miljan ... Capt. Fontaine
Del Elliott Del Elliott ... Rebel
Myrna Loy ... Azuri
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lester Cole Lester Cole
Peggy Dale Peggy Dale


The Desert Song is a 1929 American Pre-Code operetta film directed by Roy Del Ruth and starring John Boles, Louise Fazenda, and Myrna Loy.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Warner Brothers' spectacular SINGING success See more »









Release Date:

8 April 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Canção do Deserto See more »


Box Office


$354,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone)


Black and White | Color (2-strip Technicolor) (one sequence)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


306 feet of 2-strip Technicolor footage, depicting the Red Shadow and his Arab horsemen riding across windswept sand dunes, opened the film in 1929, but now only survives in B&W. See more »


Version of The Desert Song (1943) See more »

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User Reviews

From another age - a wonderful wallow
22 July 2005 | by hwadleighSee all my reviews

Today's idea of "cool" just did not apply in 1929. It's not at all like a modern movie. It has title screens and actors using overly broad gestures and overacting in a nearly comical manner. They also sing in an artificial stylized semi-operatic manner. It combines the style of a silent movie with a stage production of an operetta. It is obviously from another age, but it only takes a few minutes before you accept the strange style and simply relax and enjoy it. The available DVD was obviously made from a print that came from barely salvageable deteriorating celluloid. The video quality is terrible and the sound quality is merely bad. In spite of all these problems, the movie is worth watching over and over. The comic scenes are amusing. The bad editing and overdrawn acting is mildly amusing, too. The music is fabulous and you soon relax and begin to love wallowing in the corn. The plot? Think of it as "Zorro goes to Morocco" and it was probably at least some of the inspiration for Superman (hero with a secret identity who wears a red cape, etc.). The 1953 version is more easily available, but much of the music and plot was gutted to try to make it a bit more "cool" in 1950's terms. Unfortunately, the sacrifices removed much of what made the original production work musically and emotionally. I prefer the older version and just wish there was a better print available. If you have any interest in classic operetta, this is a "do not miss" film. If you have no feeling for such music, you would probably find this a complete waste of time (and earn my sympathy for your inability to appreciate it).

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