Shiek Yousseff, poses as a friend of the French while secretly plotting to overthrow them. Apposing Yousseff are the Riffs, whose secret leader, The Red Shadow, is Paul Bonnard, a professor... See full summary »
H. Bruce Humberstone
After Nelson Eddy left the big screen after Northwest Outpost for a while he concentrated on the concert stage. But as that was not bringing him in enough cash he switched to the nightclub scene where he was a leading attraction for the rest of his life. His singing partner was Gale Sherwood who was 28 years his junior. But rumors had it that they made beautiful music on and off the nightclub stage.
Which brings us to The Desert Song which was done live on television in 1955 and marked Nelson Eddy's last operetta role. The tape that survives and sadly only in black and white is the absolute real version that folks on Broadway saw in 1926 when it debuted. The three big screen versions all had plot changes of some kind. And the score is not intact in any of them. For that reason this DVD is to be treasured.
And it is to be treasured for the singing of Nelson and Gale. She was the equal of Jeanette MacDonald as a partner for him. But Nelson Eddy was also 54 when he did The Desert Song and looked every bit of it. Hardly the type to play the dashing Red Shadow. When he's not hitting the high notes of his baritone range, Eddy looks a little silly.
Still it is the music of Sigmund Romberg-Otto Harbach-Oscar Hammerstein, II that we treasure from The Desert Song. And the singing is fabulous.
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