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The Firebird (1934)

Approved | | Drama, Mystery, Romance | 3 November 1934 (USA)
Herman Brandt, a handsome but overly conceited actor, lives in the same apartment building in Vienna as Carola and John Pointer and their 18-year-old daughter Mariette. One day, as Carola ... See full summary »


William Dieterle


Charles Kenyon (screenplay), Lajos Zilahy (play) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Verree Teasdale ... Carola Pointer
Ricardo Cortez ... Herman Brandt
Lionel Atwill ... John Pointer
Anita Louise ... Mariette Pointer
C. Aubrey Smith ... Police Inspector Miller
Dorothy Tree ... Mrs. Jolan Brandt
Helen Trenholme Helen Trenholme ... Mlle. Josephine Mousquet - the Governess
Hobart Cavanaugh ... Emile - Brandt's Valet
Robert Barrat ... Halasz - the Apartment House Manager
Hal K. Dawson Hal K. Dawson ... Assistant Stage Manager
Russell Hicks ... Mr. Beyer - the Stage Manager
Spencer Charters ... Max Bauer - the Porter
Etienne Girardot ... Prof. Peterson
Florence Fair Florence Fair ... Thelma - the Pointers' Maid
Nan Grey ... Alice von Attem (as Nan Gray)


Herman Brandt, a handsome but overly conceited actor, lives in the same apartment building in Vienna as Carola and John Pointer and their 18-year-old daughter Mariette. One day, as Carola leaves to walk her dog, Brandt sides up to her and proposes she "visit" him at his apartment after everyone has gone to bed. Shocked and offended at his brazenness, she complains about him to the building manager, who orders Brandt to leave. He refuses, so the Pointers decide that they will move out instead. While they're packing, the police show up at their apartment with some bad news--Brandt has been found murdered, shot in the head, and since they were known to have quarreled with him, they are suspects. However, Inspector Muller, the detective investigating the murder, discovers that there is more to this case than meets the eye. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Mystery | Romance








Release Date:

3 November 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ave de Fogo See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The original play by Lajos Zilahy opened in Budapest, Hungary, on 25 February 1932. Jeffrey Dell's English-language adaptation opened in New York City on 21 November 1932 and had 42 performances. See more »


The Firebird Suite
(1919) (uncredited)
Music by Igor Stravinsky
Arranged by Bernhard Kaun
Excerpts played during the opening credits and as background music
Played on a record several times
See more »

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User Reviews

Vienna sausage at its wurst.

This movie's title is almost entirely irrelevant. Ricardo Cortez portrays a suave musician in Vienna (memo to a previous IMDb reviewer: Vienna is not in Germany), who lures young maidens to his bachelor flat by offering to play Stravinsky's 'Firebird'. Of course, he's a cad with dozens of notches on his bedpost. Sooner or later, somebody is going to kill this guy. Sure enough, somebody does.

This is one of those murder mysteries that features a subjective camera shot from the viewpoint of the murderer, so that the victim looks the murderer right in the eyes but we don't know the murderer's identity. We see Cortez welcoming someone into his digs, and a woman's arm enters the frame ... so we know the killer is a woman. And she's white, too. Other than that, her identity is a mystery.

C. Aubrey Smith, more phlegmatic than usual, is the world-weary police inspector who's got to wade through the suspects. The prime suspect is Cortez's neighbour abovestairs, Verree Teasdale, whose lovely young daughter Anita Louise may have been ruined by Cortez. In this movie, Teasdale is married to Lionell Atwill, so she's got enough problems.

I'll give this movie some credit. The solution to whodunnit was a genuine surprise to me. Likewise, her motive (yes, the killer IS a woman) was something I didn't expect. Unfortunately, her motive isn't very plausible either. Also, this movie starts out as a whodunnit, but C. Aubrey Smith's sleuth spends much less time trying to solve the murder than he spends pontificating on the morals of the younger generation and such. This movie is based on a play, and it shows: there's lots of talk and very little action.

This movie was directed by William Dieterle, a brilliant craftsman who believed in astrology and numerology, and whose artistic decisions were often dictated by the horoscopes cast for him by his wife. She must have put her azimuth in the wrong house this time, because Dieterle's talents -- so amply demonstrated in many other films -- aren't much in evidence here. Several good actors try hard with weak material. I'll rate this movie just 4 out of 10.

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